The Week in 'Wives: RHOP picks rooms, RHONY picks a fight, and RHOBH picks teams
Even with Friday the 13th, how lucky have we been this week, Housewives faithful? We get three jam-packed episodes, plus the season 2 trailer for The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City? What is this, Christmas? Cue the Countess' new single! Speaking of which, The Real Housewives of New York City gathered not to celebrate Christmas this week, but to partake in "Black Shabbat," which went about as well as you might expect anything that is doubly non-Ramona culture. A little further south, The Real Housewives of Potomac journeyed down I-95 for a girls' trip to historic Williamsburg, where the conflict between Karen and Gizelle — a grudge almost as old as the colonial-era town itself — flared back up. Finally, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills continue to dissect Erika's legal situation, with the longstanding cast members making a show of solidarity for their embattled co-star while the more recent additions struggle to wrap their heads around her story. Here are the best, worst, and wildest moments from this week in 'wives!
HIGH POINT: Back in the 'burg, RHOP
Full disclosure: I, your devoted Week in 'Wives writer, went to college in Williamsburg, VA. So if you think for one second that our beloved Potomac cast is going to walk down DoG Street (that's Duke of Gloucester to you) and buy bread ends at The Cheese Shop and it's not going to become the high point of the week, you don't know a thing about the peculiar grip of the 'burg, which is quite a place to spend four entire years of your life, let me tell you. For her part, Gizelle is not sure about spending even just four days there, so devoid of thrills (apart from historical reenactors) is the town. I'm not going to say she's wrong, honestly, but I also don't need to, because she takes it back herself once they deboard the stripper-pole party bus and explore the palatial home Candiace has booked for them, where the green-eyed bandits promptly put their new ally Mia in her place by kicking her out of her chosen bedroom, and then Gizelle and Karen decided to get the trip off to a shady start by mutually demanding apologies. Cliquey room assignments? A gossip-fueled grudge? This really is just like college!
LOW POINT: Own it yourself, RHOBH
Ugh, she's back. I'd been so happy she'd gone on hiatus, but s----stirring Lisa Rinna is back in action and proudly fighting for the wrong side of whatever conflict is going on once again. When Erika has her breakdown and excuses herself after Garcelle brings up a sensitive subject, Lisa seems to see it as an opportunity to cast Garcelle as a villain, and herself as a loyal friend interested in justice — never a convincing role for her. She rolls out her tired "own it" line once again, and poor Garcelle must continue defending herself, despite never having done anything wrong in the first place. The next morning, when the shocking LA Times story about the Girardis drops, Lisa is mysteriously struck with a hopefully temporary case of illiteracy, marveling at the length of the story rather than just reading it. Mercifully, Sutton remembers how to navigate a news article, is unafraid of recapping one on-camera, and joins in to summarize, emphasis on the phrase "Ponzi scheme." By now, the lines have already been drawn. There's the old guard 'wives rallying around Erika, exposés be damned, and the newer additions, who are less shy to question what's going on here. (And then there's Kathy, who wisely opts out of the drama except to say "I don't know her" or to read aloud the Ruth's Chris menu, all of which I believe is fully intentional — she's one step ahead of Sutton in realizing she wants nothing to do with this.) The attempt to make Garcelle some kind of bad guy, though, was beneath Rinna, not to mention a sloppy Housewives strategy. It's so blatant and disappointing it somehow even overrules Dorit congratulating herself for hiring "multicultural" workers in her home, so that Phoenix and Jaggy learn from a young age that people of color exist… Well, maybe this show had two low points this week.
WILDEST MOMENT: Shabbat in shambles, RHONY
Eboni meant well when she invited the cast to "Black Shabbat," an inclusive event hosted by her friend Archie, who runs the organization JewBelong. The plan hits its first snag when convert-in-training Leah is unable to attend due to a possible COVID exposure; it only gets worse when the ladies arrive and Ramona immediately criticizes the dinner napkins. Sonja sees this for the warning sign that it is, but there's no turning back now. Anyway, dinnertime! Leah joins on FaceTime, which makes her feel like she's been shrunken and dropped on the tabletop, whence she has to yell that the candles are blocking her view. Ramona's been feisty all night, but once Archie introduces the mere notion of empathy for Black and Jewish communities, she's had quite enough. Italians have been discriminated against too, did you know that? Ramona herself was "shunned," she was "boycotted" by Jewish people when she went to college, when she moved to New York. "We've gone from Italian persecution to Ramona persecution at college. It just keeps getting worse," Luann rightly observes. Sonja doesn't buy it, insisting that Ramona has at least slept with some Jewish guys. "I did not and you stop it!" Ramona cries, furious. "I wished I was born Jewish… do you understand? I cried at night." We can only imagine how she suffered. "Can we please listen to the Blacks and the Jews?" Sonja asks. No we can't, because Ramona didn't eat all day, despite whatever the footage of her scarfing hummus on the bus may suggest. Eboni sneaks off with FaceTime Leah to discuss from the living room. "I kind of regret doing this whole thing," she admits. It's the thought that counts.
👑 QUEEN OF THE WEEK 👑 Sutton, RHOBH
#BLESSED: The RHOSLC season 2 trailer will have me answering all questions with the question, "How did the feds know that you were at Beauty Lab?" until Sept. 12.
PACK YOUR BAGS: RHONY's Dorinda is making the iconic Blue Stone Manor available on Airbnb!
BEST EDITING: RHONY did deliver a helpful flashback montage of "introvert" Sonja in various states of public intoxication and/or undress, but this goes to our friends the RHOP editors this week for adding a tip tally when all the ladies tried out the stripper pole.
SOUND FINANCIAL ADVICE: "If the devil himself puts money in your LLC, you are responsible for it" — Sutton, RHOBH
AND INTRODUCING: Dylan Darby, a Pisces! Who memorably greeted Gizelle! (RHOP)