The Week in 'Wives: RHONY gets witchy, RHOBH gets spaghetti
What a strange few weeks it's been in the Bravoverse, Housewives faithful. We've spent the last month-plus with only two franchises on the air (filmed roughly around the same time, last fall), and seen The Real Housewives of New York City slowly intensify as it wrestles with national tensions in microcosm — this week, a trip to spooky Salem explodes in a confrontation over white supremacy — while The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills hews more closely to the classic Housewives formula but feels increasingly surreal as one ridiculous argument spirals out of control and a real-world scandal unfolds as if in slow motion. Next week The Real Housewives of Potomac returns, and all we need is the Grande Dame and the Green-Eyed Bandits to make this whole era a true landmark moment in Bravo history. But first, here are the best, worst, and wildest moments from this week in 'wives!
HIGH POINT: Spaghetti Bolognese, RHOBH
Yes, Harry Hamlin has already claimed the honor of high point once this season, and no, I will not apologize for his repeat appearance in this spot today. This week's hour in Beverly Hills opens with Harry and Lisa — who is not so domestic herself, but "a great hype man and a great cheerleader!" as she proudly informs us — shopping for the ingredients for Harry's world-famous (he often makes it in Canada) spaghetti Bolognese. Later in the episode, when the time comes for the ladies to savor this exquisite dish, Harry pulls out all the stops. He sets a table the likes of which you've never seen. He worries about everyone wearing appropriate footwear. He wears a cheeky apron that reads, "Shoot the cook."
"Welcome to Positano!" he greets his guests. Nobody has ever had such delicious Bolognese in their life. During lunch, when the topic of his daughter Amelia dating erstwhile Kardashian beau Scott Disick comes up, he casually reminds us that he once had a long relationship with iconic Bond girl Ursula Andress, 14 years his senior. And when Garcelle makes her birthday wish ("I want him hung like a horse!"), he shakes his head and offers some sage Hollywood wisdom: "Be careful what you wish for." Is it a coincidence this practically perfect party went off the rails only after the spaghetti had been eaten and Harry Hamlin made his exit? I think not.
LOW POINT: Not playing games, RHONY
I don't know how to begin addressing how awful the latex and leather party in Salem turned out to be. Let's just get right into it. First of all, it is not outrageous that Eboni would want confirmation that the ladies are not aligned with white supremacy, affronted though Luann is by the question. Some Trump voters are rich people interested in staying rich, but a vocal contingent of his supporters are white supremacists. It is fair for Eboni to wonder and to confirm that her new friends (however many of them voted for the ex-POTUS) fall into the former category, which she says she can respect. But nobody can have it both ways and feign ignorance that the latter category also exists and was empowered by his presidency.
But wait, it gets worse! Ramona, who just wants to have fun, doesn't think the concept of white supremacy is relevant to this group. "You're living a great life. I don't understand. I want your life!" she says to Eboni. "I'm saying, look at you, I don't think you've suffered." Saying that one Black woman having privilege is proof that Black people are not systemically oppressed in America is about as wrongheaded and outlandishly anti-reality as citing one cold day as evidence that global warming isn't real, which just makes me glad nobody asked Ramona at dinner whether she recycles, because I don't think my heart could take all that in a single episode. Anyway, then Ms. Singer does a lap around the room, only to return doing a jumpy little dance and shouting that she wants to play a game. The rest of the group refuses to just drop the subject, so Ramona finally cries out, "Should I apologize that I'm white?"
WILDEST MOMENT: Jealousy rears its ugly leather pants, RHOBH
Ugh. Ugh! Violationgate is back. On the one hand, I've never been so over an argument that the Housewives just won't let die. (Just kidding! Remember pantygate? Remember puppygate?! Goodbye, Kyle!) On the other hand, Sutton's breakdown and Crystal's strong response to it at the spaghetti-turned-birthday party was a fascinating clash of personalities. First of all, I'm pretty sure Sutton went straight to her pouty place really just because she uncharacteristically forgot to bring a gift, and because her arch-nemesis Crystal, who is clearly not thinking about Sutton literally at all, was in on a group gift. There are so many pieces of that sentence that we already know to be triggers to Sutton. So Sutton throws a tantrum, resuming her whole crusade against Crystal's entirely valid use of the word "violation." It does not seem to register that it is fairly hypocritical to dismiss Crystal's feelings (about being walked in on naked) while insisting everyone validate her own feelings (about… the way in which Crystal expressed her feelings about being walked in on naked). Crystal refuses to apologize, because honestly what does she have to be sorry for, and says Sutton is jealous of her. The whole scene overwhelms Sutton, who storms off, still believing herself wronged. Why won't Jesus throw her a bone? What kind of crazy planet is Crystal living on? And jealous of what? Your ugly leather pants?
👑 QUEEN OF THE WEEK 👑 Crystal, RHOBH
REST IN PEACE: T'Challa Samuels, RHOP
NEW HOUSEWIFE ALERT: Introducing… Hunky Dory! (RHOBH)
MOST CRUCIAL THROWBACK: Delighted though I was to get a reminder of the Dorit room at Buca di Beppo (RHOBH), who could resist a flashback to RHONY's vibrator in the chicken?
POLL: Are the leather pants actually ugly??? I vote no, they are not! But am I swayed by the context in which we saw them? Truly I'm not sure!