The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City recap: The enemy of my friend is my friend
Sabotaging the catering for a wildly lavish event a few days before the event occurs is such a quintessential Housewives move that I actually can't believe we've never seen it proliferate through the franchise before. And now that I've witnessed it happen, it feels as though I'm experiencing the first time a Housewife, say, fed a story to The Blogs, or tweeted that a fellow Housewife was a roach while said Housewife was actively in labor…
Which is to say: this is surely a move that will continue to be employed within the franchise for years to come. Will we even remember what life was like before catering became a tool in the villainous Housewife's repertoire? Can there ever be a passed app again now that these women know sabotage is as simple as cutting off access to tiny eggrolls and stuffed mushroom caps? Only time will tell. For now, not only did Lisa Barlow make Housewives history with her heretofore unseen levels of (alleged) party sabotage… but she also ushered in Salt Lake City's first-ever "Friend Of," Angie, who brings with her even more wealth and traumatically severed ties to the Mormon Church than ever before.
Where season 1 of RHOSLC gave us a series we never could have expected, season 2 is giving us the Housewives series we deserve: casino nights, and catering fights, and forgiveness on ice — oh my!
Given the catering-centric argument that dominated the back half of the episode, it's hard to believe that we started this hour back on that icy pond; fishing aspirations all but abandoned in favor of Whitney and Heather watching the fight between Jen, Meredith, and Lisa unfold like a blonder and more botoxed Statler and Waldorf. (And I can't decide what's funnier: Whitney attempting to be taken seriously in her fuzzy li'l bucket hat, or Heather saying that she can't follow Jen to the weak side of the ice because she lied about her body weight on the ice fishing forms.)
As the episode opens, Jen is no closer to taking accountability for liking mean tweets that made assumptions about Brooks' sexuality, and she's attempting every method short of screaming "TROUT!" to try and deflect blame away from herself. First, she claims she doesn't run her own social media, then she says that Meredith needs to own the things Brooks has done to her — anything to keep from admitting that she's completely ruthless on social media. But given that every single Housewife except Lisa Barlow is upset with Jen for the exact same thing (acting an ass on social) she either needs to publish a social media manager's pink slip in her Instagram stories right the hell now… or take some ownership of her actions and say sorry.
Lisa claims that it's because of her extreme level of empathy, patience, and understanding that she alone can see into Jen's soul and know that she means well each time she likes a tweet saying one of her friends looks like Shrek or tells Lisa to "shut the f--- up" while she's trying to calm her down. But I think Meredith gets it right when she says that Lisa doesn't want her to make peace with Jen because it would be good for Meredith — she wants Meredith and Jen to make up because it would be easier for Lisa. In the end, though, despite the fact that Jen has been raging all over the ice, throwing her own diamond tennis bracelet into the snow, and weeping to her first assistant Stuart that the women keep making her apologize for things she didn't do. (I would love for Jen to name a single thing she's apologized for that she didn't do.)
She somehow dries up her tears and rage in a matter of seconds, marches over to Meredith, and says she's really sorry. "The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt Brooks," she says, her voice cracking with emotion: "I didn't like that [tweet], but I'm responsible, and I'll handle it with my people." Meredith nods solemnly, saying that she appreciates the apology, and when Jen asks if it would be okay for her to personally apologize to Brooks, Meredith says she thinks that would be "very productive."
Personally, I think it's a terrible idea to ever put those two in a room together again… but there's likely only one season left to do it, so we might as well go all in, I guess. As far as potential new replacements for what is likely to be the Jen-Shah-size hole in season 3, I'm not sure about Lisa's friend Angie just yet, but there's no doubt that Andy Cohen is trying her on for size.
The fun thing about wildcards like Jen and Mary in season 1 was that they were perhaps the opposite of what we expected when we thought of a Salt Lake City Housewife: not Mormon, not white, and not entirely in charge of their own faculties at all times. Angie seems like the opposite in that she is exactly what you'd expect (and, in fact, is rumored to have been in the original RHOSLC cast). When Lisa meets her at their mutual friend's house, she seems nice enough, telling Lisa she wants to invite everyone to a philanthropic event she's hosting to benefit an LGBTQIA organization she supports and telling us that she likes fast food just as much as Lisa…
But the real interesting stuff comes later. Presumably, Angie and Whitney would have been aware of one another for a while if Angie was originally involved in season 1, but Angie claims that she didn't realize she and Whitney are actually related until she learned that Whitney's great-great-great-grandfather is also Shadrach Roundy, a.k.a., bodyguard to Joseph Smith. Ever since then, Angie and Whitney have become fast friends/family, a fact that Lisa is none too happy about, even though she will repeatedly claim that she would never dictate who her friends can be friends with.
But that's not what Lisa's good friend Angie says! At lunch with Whitney, Angie says that Lisa "asked me not to acknowledge you as my cousin." Which pretty solidly backs up what Whitney has said all along about Lisa: that she looks down on Whitney and has tried to get her kicked off the show. In her testimonial, Angie takes it a step further, telling us, "Lisa has a lot of opinions about people, and if I wasn't friends with everyone she didn't want me to be friends with… I wouldn't have a lot of friends."
But that's all a lot of hypothetical mumbo jumbo compared to the actual receipts that Angie ever-so-casually pulls out at lunch, saying that she wants Whitney's opinion on something. She then proceeds to read a text message from the caterers who are supposed to be working her upcoming charity event, which basically says that Lisa's assistant rang them up (these caterers happen to be close friends of Lisa's that she frequently employs), and now "this doesn't seem like the right event" for their staff. Whitney scoffs, immediately asking Angie when she got the text, and she tells her: five hours after told Lisa that she'd invited Whitney to the casino party.
"I may be blonde, but I'm not stupid," Whitney smirks in her testimonial: "This is not a coincidence." Angie says if it's true that Lisa is attempting to sabotage her event, she's going to be devastated…
And when Lisa rolls into said event, offering warm hellos and "I-love-that-s" to everyone except Whitney, and immediately finding an opportunity to say, "There's nothing worse than being at a party without food," well, it certainly seems like Angie's devastation will be eminent. But it's also worth noting that if Lisa and Angie are truly as close as they say they are — Angie is doing very little to protect her. She doesn't say explicitly that she believes Lisa sabotaged her catering, but she's certainly acting like it, and moreover, she immediately shared the intel that suggests the worst of Lisa to Whitney: someone who already believes the worst in Lisa.
I mean, yes, Lisa almost definitely called those caterers. But Angie also seems pretty eager to sure up ties with her newly discovered cousin. So, after a tech CEO pledges a million dollars at the event, and Angie changes from one fabulous Tom Ford gown into a fully feathered dress (the party really does seem fabulous and includes loaner diamonds, which seems like a terrible idea), it's time to get to the bottom of this.
Angie asks Lisa to come into a private room with her and tells her that a few hours after they met the other day, she got a call from her caterers saying that Lisa's assistant had called them, and now they were going to have to pull out of the event. And there's no other way to describe Lisa's reaction: it's sheer panic. She starts blustering that the caterers are allowed to do whatever they want, and this has nothing to do with her. Angie says all she knows is that they were very excited to cater the event the day before she met with Lisa… and after she met with Lisa, "someone called them to shut it down."
Lisa says this all feels weird: "To me, we're like sisters, but now you're cousins with Whitney." As far as we know, Angie hasn't mentioned Whitney at all to this point, but Lisa takes it upon herself to deflect the attention off of the catering allegations and onto the fact that Angie has unexpectedly sought out a friendship with someone Lisa claims has repeatedly hurt her…
You know, like the exact same thing that Lisa did to Meredith when she randomly decided to befriend Jen after last season's reunion — an anecdote that Angie brings up in her own defense, which really sets Lisa off. Suddenly she's physically pulling Meredith into the room with Angie and screaming for Jen to join them as well. It actually felt amazing to see Jen confused and alarmed by someone else's behavior for once, and when Lisa starts ranting about how her friendship with Meredith is fine, Jen says she's just thankful that there's finally an argument that has nothing to do with her. And that might be the first time I've ever agreed with Jen.
Because we can always expect Jen to blow up in irrational and incomprehensible ways — but to see the complete disintegration of a character who has seemed so emotionally sturdy up to this point is fascinating. And when Angie tells Lisa that she shared the caterer's text message with Whitney and asked for her opinion — and then Whitney wanders into the room — things go completely off the rails. "Whitney, why are you in here?" Lisa spits. Whitney says that she heard yelling, so she wanted to check on her good friend Angie, which she's allowed to do. "Clearly there's something going on here that I don't know about, and clearly it has something to do with Whitney," Lisa says in her testimonial, which seems both true… and pretty rich coming from someone who recently called in a hit on 500 tiny quiches because she's mad that her pretty blonde bestie made another pretty blonde bestie.
Lisa says that if Angie was concerned, she should have called her immediately, not shared her concerns with Whitney. Whitney tells Lisa that if she wants to go tit-for-tat, why don't they discuss the fact that "you asked Angie not to acknowledge that she's related to me, you asked her not to follow me on social media, you asked her to disown me."
Lisa looks like she's about to throw up. She's caught red-handed on that one, so the only thing she can do is blow up at Angie for telling Whitney the things said to her in confidence. In a wild turn of events, Lisa then starts trying to flee the room, and Jen stops her, telling her she needs to sit down and deal with this. But Whitney says in her testimonial that she's got a Ph.D. in Lisa's behavior, and she knows exactly what's happening here: "When Lisa's screaming, it's because she's being challenged; when Lisa cries, it's because she doesn't want to deal with it; and when Lisa walks away, it's because she's guilty and she's been caught red-handed."
Cue the editors slicing in clips of Lisa screaming, crying, and literally fleeing the party with her husband in tow. So, I guess that's class dismissed on Lisa Barlow 101, and see you back here next week to find out which party vendors will get caught in the RHOSLC crosshairs next.