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 5 (or if you don't mind spoilers).
Let this be said: Jody Claman is no moron. Dumb, maybe, but no moron.
She's a uniquely sociopathic creature, the kind who can draw victims in with a ditzy countenance and manipulate them -- and they don't even have a clue she's done anything. She's like the guy in that Kraft Dinner commercial, who stuck a noodle to his face and distracted his roommate, leaving him none the wiser. Game, set and match.
We begin with an ending ... last week's, specifically, when the girls were gathered at Q4 for Amanda Hansen's disastrous birthday dinner. Plastic Amazon Ronnie arrived at the dinner wondering what the hell happened before she got there, as Mary came out to her (nearly in tears) saying she had to go because Jody was being a mean little gremlin to her.
Mary doesn't want to talk about it but Jody goads her on, complaining that her poor nemesis is talking with her mouthful and it "really bugs her." At this point Mary has the opportunity to say, "Well, you're speaking in that raspy, manly voice, and that bugs me," but being Mary, she has no retort. Instead she tries to play peacemaker, saying that she doesn't want to ruin Amanda's birthday, and Jody agrees.
Then Mary's phone rings. It's her friend Mashiah, telling her that her son's foot is so swollen that it looks as though it's been run over by a car. At this point we get some insight into how Mary's brain works. She hears the words "son," "swollen foot," and "car," and presumes that this person's foot has been run over. She also spots a way out of an awkward dinner, and tells the housewives she must depart.
JUST HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, is basically what Ioulia says at this point. She knows Mashiah herself, calls her up and finds out there was no actual emergency. Turns out Mary has just misheard her, and sits back down. Jody spots a target as obvious as a board with a bull's-eye on its hide and pounces, calling her a liar. Then Mary tries again. This time she uses the excuse that there are 20 teenagers at her house and that she needs to get there pronto.
Anyway, the excuse works well enough for her to leave the party without too much fanfare. While absent from the table, Amanda, Jody's less-intelligent-sociopath-in-training, tells Ronnie that Mary told her that she came between her and Jody, which gets the Amazon all hot and bothered and forces a shit-eating grin to well up on Jody's face. Ronnie gets up, goes to the bathroom, and who does she see at another table? Mary, sitting and drinking wine with two male friends.
Robin goes to visit Mary and figure out WTF is going on. Mary claims she underwent a roast, a remark that's insulting to real roasts. Robin says she did it to herself, that she came off as a liar.
Mary's response? Here it is, word for word:
"I left, what happens is I got distracted, I talked to the kids, it wasn't a dire emergency and I got sidetracked for a minute with some people that I knew, and I really was ... tense and I needed to unwind."
Mary, I hereby christen thee "Mairhead." You're a vacuous, compulsive liar who doesn't know how to defend yourself. I'd pity you if your defeat at the hands of a gremlin (Jody), an Amazon (Ronnie) and a dunce (Amanda) weren't so inevitable.
Next we go to Robin's house, where she's gotten a visit from Cole Armour, the much better singer who has charitably agreed to duet the U.S. national anthem with her at a grand prix showjumping event. They practice, again, and Robin proves completely incapable of hitting the "Rocket's red glare" lyric. I sympathize with Cole a great deal here. I played tenor saxophone in high school, and attended many awkward band rehearsals with terrible musicians. It's one thing when they recognize they're amateurs (they did), and it's another when they think they're good (Robin does). Their harmony makes you wish they could just call the whole thing off, but then that wouldn't make good drama, would it? (This doesn't either. Seriously, kill this plotline already.)
Next we meet Jody and Amanda, on their way to a "dinner and art" party at Ioulia's condo. As they travel in a limo they resemble a Botoxed version of Randy and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys. (You know, the disgraced ex-cop and his Buddha-bellied hetero life partner who stalked around making trouble for Ricky and Julian.) I'll let you decide which is which in this context.
Ioulia sets some ground rules for the party: "NO FIGHTING BEYOND THIS POINT, BEWARE OF TWO PUSSIES!" She means her cats. I suppose she meant that to be funny. Amanda's response: "Whose pussies are going to be fighting? Not mine, mine is staying in my pants, thank you!" Whatever, girl. You've got the libido of the Chicken Lady. Mary isn't at this party, she's off shooting a video in the distant suburb of Langley for her "hit" single "Hero." Shooting in a barn, she's forced to sing the song in double-time to capture slow-motion shots of her flowing locks. And she doesn't seem to remember the words to her own song. Gawd...
OK, but just to be serious for a moment. She wrote the song for her son Chase, who was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow at various places. Chase is on set watching his mother at the shoot. If there's anything nice to say about Mary, she definitely knows how to work the camera. But then, even a dumbass like Amanda knew how to walk a runway.
Then it's back to Ioulia's art party, where Robin has arrived wearing a Brazilian jacket made of Coke can tabs. I'm not sure she appreciates its irony. We learn that Ioulia is a bit of a wicked stepmother. Her younger kid (STEPDAUGHTER, she points out) is at boarding school in Australia. And it's summer. And Ioulia says she might be back already. She doesn't know. The tension lifts when Ioulia welcomes her friends Dana, Nicole and some half-naked beefcake named Dave. They're going to draw him.
The housewives begin sketching, and sex addict Amanda dives right into the task, furiously tearing apart her parchment with pastels. They instruct Dave to get down on his knees, so they can draw him from different angles. Ronnie compliments her own artistry, says she could sell a painting for a lot of money. But Ioulia has even more in store. Dave leaves, then comes back wearing a rainbow-coloured tube sock. "Pants would have been fine," Amanda says, while her libido screams "MEEEEEOWWWWWWWWW!" Jody, meanwhile, smacks her lips as she draws the man, perhaps because she's never been with a man as attractive as this one.
Overall, the drawings aren't terrible. Amanda's is passable, which is more than can be said for Ronnie's. Ronnie makes an interesting remark at the end of it all: "I think we've all noticed tonight that when Mary's not around, there's a lot less drama."
In a brief interlude, Jody tells her daughter Mia that she's been asked to appear as a judge on Top Chef Canada, and will have to travel to Toronto to tape the show. This sets up some drama to come. Finally, it's time for the grand prix event where Robin and Mary will sing their countries' respective national anthems. Jody arrives alongside Amanda, Ioulia and Ronnie, all of them dressed for a day at the racetrack, and all have difficulty navigating a gravel path in high heels.
Mairhead sings "O Canada," does a good job as usual, though everyone expected that. And then it's Robin and Cole's turn, and watching it you just hope they can hit those harmonized notes. They begin, and all goes well until they get to the contentious verse: "And the rocket's red glare..."
And surprisingly, it's not that bad. Robin just hits the note and they can carry on as usual. She's not unbelievable, as Jody says, but it could have been much worse. Robin calls it a "9.5." For her, yes. The girls fawn over Robin's performance, Mary feels completely left out, and it surprises me that a professional singer needs so much validation just for singing the national anthem. Robin's voice is a few octaves short of a donkey squeal. Just let her have this!
And here's where the social sectarianism really ramps up. Jody asks Ronnie to invite Robin along to Toronto to watch her judge Top Chef Canada. Mairhead thinks she still has an ally ... until she learns that Robin is actually going. And of course, Amanda is going too.
That sets up next week's episode, when Amanda is hopefully detained at the airport when border agents mistake her kambucha tea for illegal animal parts.
You can watch Real Housewives Of Vancouver on Slice every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST/PST.