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Last we left the RHOSLC, Jen was rolling a few tequilas deep and ready to start something with Meredith at Whitney’s Roaring Twenties party.
She invites Meredith into a booth and then starts an interrogation.
Jen wants to know why, exactly, Meredith canceled their sleepover, beyond the fact that they are two grown women much too old for slumber parties.
Meredith would rather not tell Jen the real reason for cancelling—her children’s disapproval of Jen’s crotch-flashing behavior—so she says something about wanting to spend time with her daughter Chloe on Chloe’s last night in town, even though Meredith won’t get home until well after midnight from this party.
Jen takes the BS answer to mean Meredith prefers Mary to her, because again, she’s had a lot of tequila. She starts yelling at Meredith about friendship and loyalty,
loud enough for the other housewives to hear a few tables down.
Heather says she recognizes the look Jen has in her eyes. “Once she’s pissed, she blacks out and there is nothing you can do,” Heather explains. Which is exactly how I talk about my two year old when it’s time for a nap.
Lisa appoints herself peacemaker and tries to calm Jen down, which only makes Jen yell louder.
So Meredith says she’s disengaging and excuses herself from the conversation.
And that’s when Jen yells, “Are you serious? You’re going to go with Mary, who [intercourse]ed her grandfather?” (Thanks to my Greenroom host Emily for the PG substitution)
It's a shocking thing to yell at a crowded party, but also very much a fact.
“I’ve [intercourse]ed a grandpa,” Heather tells the producers, like it’s something most people have done.
But continues, “If it was my grandpa who I was married to, I would not want my friend to yell that at me at a party.” Sit with that statement for a minute. Let it wash over you. Revel in the chaos. Give thanks for the gift that is this storyline.
“No more tequila, doll,” Lisa tells Jen.
If Lisa, whose entire job and reason for being on this show is to convince people to buy and drink her tequila is telling you no more tequila, you know you’ve had too much tequila.
But Jen won’t hear it.
Heather decides she better go check on Jen, but not without leaving very specific instructions with her table mates first:
Jen yells at Heather to leave her alone,
So Heather calls Sharrieff and asks him to come pick up his wife. She tells him he’ll know where to turn when he sees “A flapper with cankles,” which made me laugh out loud. Heather might actually be hilarious.
Heather escorts Jen into the car,
And then heads back inside to eat her burger and drumsticks.
“It’s a good thing our Mormon friends weren’t here, their skin and flesh would melt off of their faces,” Heather says.
And that’s true. If Mormons encounter enough middle-aged women debauchery, they experience the same thing the Nazis at the end of Raiders experience. It’s in the handbook they give you when you join the church. Next to the chapter on how to care for your horns.
The next day the women gather to discuss the events of the night before.
Lisa with Heather (even though I thought these two were still in a fight over honor code violations?)
Whitney with Mary,
Mary claims Jen called her a "grandpa-m-effer" which 1. isn't true, and 2. doesn't make any sense. But Mary spends the rest of the episode referring to herself as "grandpa-m-effer."
And Meredith with Brooks,
who doesn’t say anything with his mouth, but speaks an entire Russian novel with his face:
The general consensus is that while it’s true that Mary does engage in marital relations with the man she once called grandpa, yelling “grandpa[intercouse]er” at her was rude. And also that Jen should apologize to Meredith.
Later, Meredith is in the process of decorating her new Park City home, so she visits Park City’s Mar Gallery to acquire some art.
Lisa shows looking like MC Hammer and Reba McEntire’s secret baby,
And insists on touching every piece in the gallery.
“Can I touch?” she asks the gallery owner over and over.
The answer is no every time, but Lisa touches anyway? It's weird.
Once Lisa has left her fingerprints on every work in the place, Meredith decides to confide in Lisa about her separation. Right there. In the middle of an art gallery.
Lisa gets pretty emotional,
and tells Meredith that she hopes they can work it out. For her sake. Meredith tells her that although she and Seth are separated, they are dating each other.
Later in the week, Lisa, who I guess is this week’s run-arounder, visits Mary.
which means we get some interior shots of Mary’s house:
The aesthetic is both bizarre and exactly what I expected. A weird mix of very expensive and very old lady. This was, after all, the home Mary inherited from her grandmother. The husband was just an added bonus (or liability, depending on who you ask).
Lisa describes Mary’s house as “eclectic.”
“Not quite Utah eclectic, but definitely eclectic,” which probably just means there’s not a shelf full of Living Scripture VHS tapes in the living room.
Robert Jr. joins Mary and Lisa in the kitchen,
and Mary tells Lisa that Robert Jr. bought his girlfriend a Prada purse.
“For Valentine’s day he bought her chinchilla, and then for her birthday he bought her a dog. That’s way more than he’s ever gotten for me,” Mary says. And I don't even know where to start unpacking that statement. And I feel like if I even start to try everything will explode like one of those pop-out snakes in a can.
Lisa asks Robert if he knows what he wants to do with his life, which is a very dumb thing to ask a seventeen-year-old and always leads to very dumb answers like:
“You don’t want to be a brain surgeon no more?” Mary asks.
“That girl’s changed you,” Mary says.
Once Robert leaves the room, Lisa and Mary criticize Whitney’s party for all the usual reasons.
Mary tells Lisa she wants to throw her own party, because that’s what Real Housewives do, I guess. Throw a party that is better than the party the last housewife threw the night before. In Mary’s opinion, that means a smaller, more intimate gathering.
“Why not do a Met Gala?” she says. Here's the thing — Mary has no idea what the Met Gala is. She thinks Met Gala is a type of party. Like birthday or graduation. A party that you can throw anytime and anywhere. Not the annual themed fundraiser gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City featuring our most prominent celebrities and designers. It is an event that is neither small nor intimate. But complete lack of knowledge about the Met Gala does not deter Mary from planning and executing a Met Gala of her own and you have to admire that.
Elsewhere in the valley, Jen visits Heather, and when the doorbell rings after she’s already entered the house, Jen remembers that she ordered sushi.
Like Heather, I’m quick to forgive anyone who yells at me in a parking lot so long as they bring snacks the next time we get together.
Heather is willing to forgive Jen for other reasons, too. She says that she’s not dumb and she knows Jen’s behavior is crazy.
But she admires Jen for it. Since she came from a culture of very well-behaved women, she always wanted to misbehave but was never allowed to. So in essence, Jen gets something of a contact high through her friendship with Jen. And if we're being honest with ourselves, I think we all have relationships like this. Sometimes you don't want to add mess to your own life, but enjoy the mess of someone else's.
When Heather asks Jen about her tequila-fueled performance at Whitney’s party, Jen dives into a lamentation about the past year of her life.
Which to be fair, does sound like it was a bad one. Her father passed away, which the producers subtly demonstrate with a saturated flashback of Jen crying at her father’s grave.
She also explains that Sharrieff is often traveling with the team and even missed her dad’s funeral. She gets lonely without him. Which is very sad. But I don’t think it excuses yelling at your friend for being friends with someone who one time told you that you smelled "like hospital."
In her deflection of responsibility for her actions, Jen lets slip that Meredith and Seth are separated. A secret she was supposed to keep secret between her, Meredith, and the production crew. But now Heather knows,
which means soon everyone will know.
Up in Salt Lake City proper, our most notorious restaurant is preparing to host Mary’s Met Gala.
Mary has hired this woman:
and a man wearing the sweater Bernard the elf mocks Judge Reinhold for wearing in The Santa Clause, to bring a fashion forward edge to her Met Gala.
At one point Mary chastises the pair for placing the gifts upside down on the table. “Do you know how to read?!”
Once the beta fish, gifts, plates, cutlery, and flowers are arranged,
Mary gleefully recites the seating arrangement.
She’s placed Meredith next to herself and she knows that will upset Jen. These women are in their mid-forties.
Heather drives all the way to Daybreak to get Whitney, making it a three hour round trip journey to Valter’s.
During the journey the two gossip about Meredith's separation in a surprisingly kind way, saying Meredith will handle it with elegance and grace.
And sure, we can judge Heather for sharing this confidential information, but keep in mind, Meredith has already told a national audience.
Valter of Valter’s toasts with Mary.
As the Met Gala luncheon guests arrive,
they are greeted by palace guards,
and a red carpet.
At noon. On a Salt Lake City. Around the corner from State Street.
Once the guests enter the restaurant, Mary tells them how luxurious everything she’s prepared is:
and goes into disturbing detail about the champagne:
Mary has prepared gifts for every guest:
Mary does the worst thing a host can do and gives her guests a chore. She instructs them to write something they want to improve about themselves in their new journal with their Versaille pen.
Then Mary demands that everyone joins hands in prayer:
and offers a very long prayer.
At one point somewhere in the middle Jen says amen, thinking the prayer is over. But the prayer is not over.
Mary wraps it up eventually, and Valter explains the meal they’re about to eat,
which is heavy on caviar:
It’s like Mary read one issue of Food And Wine in a waiting room in 1994 and has based her entire personality and party aesthetic on it ever since.
Once the women have finished eating their pricey meals, it’s time for them to share what it is that they wrote in their journals.
Whitney says that she wants to care less what people think of her.
And then adds that she’s many things, but not a swinger. Which is disappointing.
Then Lisa says she has extremely high goals for herself.
She pauses to get fake emotional,
and then says, “I love that about myself. I don’t want to change it.” How many times do you think Lisa has told a potential employer her greatest weakness is that she cares too much?
Then it’s Jen’s turn.
Jen gives a speech to her friends and the waiters standing behind them about the struggles of growing up in Utah as a person of color, about her family and the loss of her father, and about the importance of loyalty.
She ultimately apologizes to Meredith for blowing up at her.
But not to Mary for calling her a grandpa[intercouse]er.
If I know Mary like I think I do, we’ll see a Jen v. Mary showdown next episode. Plus more of the Salt Lake City 12:00pm December Met Gala, which I propose we make an annual event.