October 08, 2010 at 01:34 PM EDT

Image Credit: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty ImagesBravo went for drama in the finale, relying on dramatic music and stern TV clips and a running reminder of the dates of these most scandalous events. (Although this soon lost power, as we’d skip from Dec. 3 to Jan. 13 and it started to feel like really all we were getting was the schedule of the Bravo production team. Also, there were two Thursday, Jan. 21 screen shots which means some poor intern made an uh-oh.) But back to TUESDAY, NOV. 24: the First Idiots were preening in their ridiculous limo, talking about the honor of knowing President Obama and how only people of the highest order got invited to State Dinners. Meanwhile red and purple and green neon strobes flashed slowly above their heads. The Salahis needed to get to the White House fast so the driver could make a U-ey and go pick up a crew of kids waiting outside the BCC homecoming dance.

Speaking of interns making oops, some poor girl with cold hands looked and looked for the Salahi name on her crumpled guest list. But it turns out if you want to get into the White House you just need to make a joke about your name (“everybody spells it Michael!”) and wait out the confusion. The young woman told the Salahis to move ahead to the line and they’d figure this mess out. So off the Salahis went, while the sound guy and camera man hung around outside the gates, marveling that that jackass couple had somehow gotten their squirrelly selves into another VIP crowd.

Poor Vice President Biden, the biggest victim of Season 1. First we saw him mugging goofy on Cat’s iPhone and then there he was grinning obliviously while Michaele clutched onto his jacket breast. We rejoined the Salahis on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. Michaele thought she was a huge hit at the party and she got to speak to the Vice President at length. And Katie Couric was a doll. And Rahm Emanuel did jello shots with her. And the Ambassador Facebook friended her that morning. And oh my God, she was so hungover that she just wanted to eat air eggs and pretend bacon and watch a Lifetime movie marathon all day. Instead a Washington Post gossip columnist had to go and be a buzzkill by daring to suggest she and her husband crashed the State Dinner.

This is why I love Jason and Stacie, who supposedly first heard the news while sipping coffee and reading the Post:

Jason: You are s#$$ing me!

Stacie: Who would have the balls to do that?

Jason: We’re not talking about a club, we’re talking about the White House!

The whole spectacle horrified Cat, who repeated her “plastic, not fantastic” line throughout the night. Of all the Housewives, Lynda definitely got the biggest thrill out of the Salahis’ months-long walk of shame. Lynda is my favorite of these women—she’s shrewd, discerning, a little wicked, a little all wrong, Ebong, Ebong, Ebong—and she looked like the C-SPAN hearings were her Oscar night/Superbowl Sunday/US Open mens’ semifinal/Lost finale all rolled into one dry hour. It wasn’t anybody’s finest hour at the viewing party, not with all that cackling and finger-pointing. And yet those dratted Salahis had it coming somewhat after their wretchedness all season. On TV the Salahis sat there stone-faced, intoning their 5th Amendment rights, as various politicos took their shots. “The Constitution protects fools,” jabbed one particularly effective man. “The Constitution protects stupidity, the Constitution protects errant thought.” The camera shifted to Michaele rearranging her cashmere cape, willing herself out of the room and into a field of lollipops and free Four Seasons matchbooks and Redskins pom poms. “Thank God it does,” the man continued. “Thank you, I’ll reel back.” Lynda, on the verge of orgasm, cried out “Oh don’t reel back baby boo! You are finally on!”

Why do these folks go on insisting that Michaele is the vulnerable party here, driven by Tareq’s egomania to a life of grift and artifice. Paul worried that his friend was simply stuck in the marriage, in her 40s and out of options. Pfft, spat Lynda. “Remove her extensions, take her makeup off, put on a apron and start servicing people and making tips,” she declared. Good for her, she’s exactly right. But good for Paul too for reminding us that these women all come from or married into money, and it was easy to cast stones from their gilded perches. But all that said, I don’t believe for a second that Michaele is a victim. If anything, I find her the scarier and smarter of the couple. There’s something frozen in that woman’s eyes, something wild and driven about her taste for the spotlight. When the Salahi attorney gave a press conference about his clients’ innocence, Michaele’s bony head kept snaking out from behind him. She will not be denied the camera! She will not ever go back to that makeup counter at Nordstroms! She will have your husband Jill Biden, if it’s the last thing she does!

I’ve never been more convinced that it is Michaele in fact who pulled the strings than at Jason and Stacie’s dinner party. Cat was in attendance, but only so she could ream the two out for getting her black-balled from the White House Christmas Party. She sat there choking bile for a minute while poor Jason and Stacie tried to gracefully steer the conversation from their decor to the elephant in the room. Michaele wouldn’t have it though. She wanted to talk colors. She wanted to talk about Paris. Finally Cat pounced, declaring the two the most artificial, fake people she’d ever met in her life. “You’re a disgrace to America!” Up Michaele stood and the two women started circling Jason’s chair and for a second I was sure somebody would lose their extensions. Cat stormed out, Michaele threw on her Cruella DeVille red fur coat, Tareq sat there dumbly. “Well the good news is now we have all this hummus to ourselves,” said Jason. Love you man.

But now it was time to spill. Come on Salahis, what is up? Nope, Michaele would not go there. Stacie and Jason made valiant attempts to have an honest conversation on the matter, but the woman wouldn’t bend let alone break, not when they could talk about happy things like their day and stuff. “I think it’s time to go,” she ordered, after Jason dared to suggest that perhaps they were feeling some emotion akin to shame. “I’m done. I love you.” Tareq seemed like he actually wanted some more hummus and for the first time I found him a little bit endearing. Am I crazy, or did that man look downright scared? It was like he was pleading with Jason: Save me, don’t make me leave with this crazy woman, I want so badly to talk, somebody help me. He looked on the verge of spilling something when Michaele growled in her Misery voice from the kitchen. “Tareq, help me with my coat. Thanks love!” And then she whisked him out the back door where she promptly delivered three brisk slaps to his face in the name of love.

Thank God that’s done. Is Michaele diabolical? Is the DC series salvageable? Did anyone watch the Salahis gloat to Andy Cohen that the finale completely vindicated them? What are those two smoking?

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