The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City recap: Wear your seatbelt!
Setting Jen Shah and Homeland Security aside, this episode takes on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's two other greatest feuds: Jen Shah vs. Brooks Marks, and Whitney "Wild" Rose vs. Lisa "I Loooove That" Barlow. And would you believe me if I told you that, for the most part, all parties involved claim the rude things they've done, take responsibility for mean Tweets they've liked, and attempt to explain that each sassy text they've sent to friends telling them not to claim their Bravo co-worker as a relative were all just big misunderstandings…
Salt Lake City: the land of misunderstood Housewives! (And also, their rosy-cheeked husbands who exclusively clap, toast, and high-five through an entire meal of food!)
To be fair to Jen — the five most cursed words in the English language — her sit-down with Brooks' is perhaps the most accountability we've ever seen her take for any of her frequently heinous actions. As a result, Bravo's first-ever peace summit lunch with a "Son Of" was must less cringeworthy in the ways I was expecting it to be (Jen screaming at her friend's son) but much more cringeworthy in ways I never could have expected (Meredith explaining to a baffled waitress that she would briefly be sitting four feet away at the bar while this middle-aged woman and college-aged young man sat alone at a table in the middle of an empty restaurant, ate nothing, said the word "vagina" a bunch of times, and then left).
Most of the meeting's unexpectedly calm energy has to do with Brooks approaching this conversation with Jen seeming more like a sad, hurt boy than the overly opinionated 21-year-old that we met in season 1, who'd hit ctrl-C on his self-titled sweatsuit line a few times, and then swiftly prepared for his closeup when the Bravo cameras came calling. And Brooks is allowed to do that. He's allowed to come in hot, not know that the heat would come back at him tenfold on Twitter, get his feelings hurt, and ask the woman that hurt them to please not like Tweets that call him a sissy bitch…
It's just a jarring personality adjustment for the audience! But given that I'm happy to abandon this Brooks/Jen drama ASAP (I'm much more interested in the Jen/FBI drama), I will simply have to accept the Brooks I'm presented with in this abandoned underground bar where Brooks and his mother (giving more "Brooks and Mother" vibes than ever before) have decided to meet Jen for the third round of her Apology Tour: Juniors Edition.
Jen called Meredith after the disastrous ice fishing encounter to tell her that she really wanted to apologize to Brooks and "hear him." And then in her testimonial, Jen whines that she really hopes Brooks will listen to her — so things already seem set up for disaster. But in the end, Jen tells Brooks that she's spoken to her whole team about liking the Tweets about him because she "[doesn't] really run her own Twitter," which Brooks is surprisingly willing to accept as the truth. Still, he tells Jen that when she liked those Tweets or made other implications about his sexuality, it felt like she was saying something about him "before I even had a voice to talk for myself." Which is sad! Jen listens and tells Brooks that when she said he'd never seen a vagina, she really didn't mean to imply anything about his sexuality and was simply trying to deflect the negative attention toward her own vagina. Which I kind of believe! But, perhaps most surprising of all, Jen doesn't even try to get Brooks to own up to his part in their feud. And you know what that is…
Well, it's probably not growth — but it is evidence that even Jen knows that fighting with a Housewives' kid (though not an actual kid, to be clear) isn't likely to gain her any fan points.
So, with the child's play out of the way, it's time to move on to season 2's hottest feud: Whitney and Lisa. Last week, the show introduced us to new "Friend Of" Angie who caused quite a stir between her old friend Lisa and her new friend/distant cousin, Whitney. Angie implied that Lisa plotted to get the catering canceled at her big party (which may or may not be true), and told Whitney that when she first realized they were distant cousins, Lisa told Angie not to claim Whitney (which is definitely true). So this week, Whitney invites Mary over to her house to tell her all about the details of her and Lisa's ensuing blowup…
And when Mary arrives, she comes bearing homemade cookies, and an innocence-stealing story about the Housewives newest hot trend: a horrifying car crash.
To set the scene: Whitney's young daughter, Bobbi, and even younger son, Brooks — or as I call him, Other Brooks — are having afterschool snacks at the kitchen island when Mary arrives. Whitney is shocked to learn that Mary knows how to safely use an oven, but hands the cookies over to her children nonetheless. Bobbi (an extremely charming child with Heather Gay energy who we can only hope teams up with Jennie's equally charming child immediately) cheerfully suggests that maybe Mary could teach them how to make cookies today. Mary says no, she shan't be doing that because she's exhausted. Now, please imagine Bobbi and Brooks' chocolate-covered little mouths slowly dropping in horror as the following exchange happens:
MARY: "One of the members in our church, the daughter had a car crash. She was ejected from the sunroof and fell down into a neighborhood. Thirty feet — dropped off the freeway!"
BOBBI: "Is she… still alive?"
MARY : "No."
MARY: "I'm so excited to beeeee here! Wear your seatbelt!"
It is, hands down, the hardest I've ever laughed at The Real Housewives. Mary's complete lack of social awareness is the gift that keeps on giving (both to audiences at home, and the therapist that Whitney's children eventually have to work through this moment with). Which is why it's all the more stunning that she has one brief moment of lucidity while advising Whitney on what to do about her growing feud with Lisa. In her testimonial, Mary says: "I think Whitney feels validated through Lisa. Otherwise, you wouldn't care. Lisa kind of has a cool factor, and I think Whitney sees that. And her insecurity and her youth makes her not know how to get to that friendship side — when all she really needs to do is shut up."
You guys, Mary finishes every single one of her sentences before she starts the next one. It is wild. And, even wilder — she's right! Mary is speaking on Whitney's side of things, but she's right about Lisa, too. Whitney can be insecure, but she's aware and honest about being insecure; Lisa projects being completely secure, but needs to be the coolest girl in the room at all times, and so, falls apart at the mere suggestion that there might be a situation that could bother her. Whitney cares that Lisa won't just validate her a little; Lisa only cares that Whitney makes her look like she cares at all.
So they do the only thing two feuding co-workers can do: they meet at a gin bar that also serves pie.
Which is weird enough to dwell on, but something much weirder happens when they order: Whitney tells the waiter that she's allergic to pecans. An allergy that's worth noting only because, in probably my third favorite scene of last season, a friend of Whitney's struggles to slice an apple for 30 minutes. She then asks Whitney if they can also share a handful of pecans as though she's asking if they might adopt a baby together. To which Whitney says: Sure, throw some pecans on there. (Note: the pecan-obsessed friend shall not be named.)
What gives Whitney?! I'm dying to know if Whitney just made up her pecan allergy because Lisa attempted to order for both of them without asking, and Whitney wanted to trump her power move with a different, more anaphylactic power move. Unfortunately, this is not a Real Tree Nut Allergies recap, so we have to get back to the Housewives antics eventually, which have now turned to Lisa saying that she was surprised to hear her husband suggest that she needed to work on becoming friends with Whitney… because she wasn't aware they weren't friends.
"My perspective is that we're not friends," Whitney says straightforwardly. "I think we just tolerate each other." This is when Lisa rolls out her theory for how they're going to get over this and move on: Whitney needs to accept that everything she's been offended by from Lisa has simply been a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. When Lisa referred to Whitney as "this" to Angie, she didn't mean it like that. When Lisa told Angie not to claim Whitney as her cousin, she just meant that she would never seek out a relationship with someone her friend of 25 years was having "discord" with.
Lisa tells Whitney, "I feel no anger toward you, I feel no hostility toward you, I feel nothing but, like, she doesn't get me." Which is, of course, not true. Lisa feels much anger and hostility toward Whitney for the mere fact that she believes Whitney has made her look angry and hostile, which, "as a Sag[ittarius]," is so not Lisa's vibe. But Whitney — bless her heart — only latches onto the last bit; the true bit. Whitney doesn't "get" Lisa, because as Whitney says, "You've never allowed me to get you."
Lisa agrees with that, and Whitney admits that some soul searching has told her that she weirdly does still want to try and be Lisa's friend. So, Lisa and Whitney agree that maybe they can understand one another better if they just spend some more one-on-one time together—and would you believe it if I told you that the previews for next week show these two doing an aerial yoga class together, the greatest marker of Housewives friendship there is (other than goat yoga, obviously)? See you back here next week to keep hope alive.
A peek inside the unconventional lives of six successful women navigating an exclusive social circle in a city where religion, status and perfection are praised to the highest degree.