Jennie Nguyen

Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City Recap: What About A Sister Wife?

Well, well, well, what do we have here? I have to say, as a Utah native who grew up Mormon, I’ll say one thing. I’m not surprised it only took a season and change for polygamy to become a hot topic on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. I am surprised, however, that the Housewife affected by the concept isn’t one connected to Mormonism. In fact, it’s newbie Jennie Nguyen, who just so happens to be Catholic. But we have a few other items of business (and drama) to go through first.

After last week’s truce, Lisa Barlow and Whitney Rose are attempting to take baby steps in their fragile friendship. The first of which involves aerial yoga, apparently. And actually, the two ‘Wives seem to be having a great time becoming their alter egos Randi Star and Jasmine (on the magic carpet), even if they’re both busy throwing shade at the other’s moniker in their confessionals. In fact, the outing has Lisa feeling so optimistic that just maybe she’ll make up with Heather Gay next! I mean, crazier things have happened…like Mary Cosby marrying her step-grandpa or Lisa, ya know, exercising.

Speaking of Mary, Robert Cosby Sr. is finally back home after being stuck in Florida through the entire pandemic. And it’s thrown her entire world for a loop. See, Mary realized over the past year that she rather enjoyed her freedom So having Robert Sr. home and puttering around the house is driving her crazy. Via confessional, she admits she doesn’t think she and her step-grandpa-turned-husband even really know each other anymore. Case in point: she likes long-grain rice, but he always cooks her short-grain. Is this what marriage is supposed to be, people? Picking fights over the length of rice?

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Even though Lisa‘s been bonding with Whitney, she’s still making time for her real friends. Which equals a day at a fish spa with Jennie and Meredith Marks. But the real reason for the aquatic treatment isn’t just for the tequila magnate to get her two besties together. It’s for Jennie to open up to the veteran ‘Wives about the ongoing conflict in her marriage over having more kids. Duy Nguyen‘s constant push hasn’t really made much sense so far, particularly when you consider that the couple’s youngest — RHOSLC breakout star Karlyn — is already nine. But it makes even less sense once we learn that Jennie went through 10 miscarriages and a stillbirth to get the three healthy kids she has. Why would Duy want to risk her health again knowing all the trauma they’ve experienced trying to build their family?

Then we have Jen Shah, who doesn’t hang with any of the other ladies this week. Instead, she opts to take her assistant/alleged co-conspirator Stuart Smith shopping for extravagant cast gifts as a way to cap off her recent apology tour. First, she suggest snake rings straight out of Taylor Swift’s reputation era, but good old Stu Chainz thinks they might send the wrong message. So eventually they compromise on six snowflake necklaces, with a total price tag coming in somewhere between a cool $2,700 and $3,200. Jen invents a convoluted reason for how the snowflakes represent the ‘Wives in all their differences and originalities. Because of course it would be breaking the fourth wall to acknowledge that the the thing tying these women together as a group is that they’re all holding snowflakes in the intro to a Housewives franchise…

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Had enough yet of Whitney and Lisa‘s budding friendship? Well, think again, because now they’re going on a double date. (Needless to say, this is a development buddies Justin Rose and John Barlow are more than a little happy about.) Lisa chooses hot new Latin concept restaurant Niño Viejo in Farmington for the night out for a couple of reasons. First, because they carry Vida Tequila. And second, because the owners — Marco and Aubrey Niccoli — happen to be the caterers who pulled out of Angie Harrington‘s fundraiser two episodes back. Yes, the very ones Angie accused Lisa of conspiring with to sabotage her event. However, when Aubrey brings the drama up while offering special, table-side service, Whitney decides she’s been lured into one big set-up. Suddenly, the whole past week of filming makes sense: Lisa was just pulling a long con in an attempt to prove her innocence in caterer-gate.

For her part, Lisa thinks her frenemy is living on the imaginary set of CSI: SLC. So when Whitney flat out accuses her of staging the conversation with the caterer, another round of their feud flares up almost immediately. Lisa insists she did nothing wrong. Whitney accuses Lisa of lying. And despite the Niccolis having come out publicly to explain that Lisa didn’t have anything to do with why they couldn’t do the event — including releasing text messages with Angie — there’s just never going to be any resolution on this. At least until the reunion. So rather than pull the ripcord on their peace treaty, the two ‘Wives agree to simply charge forward and stop rehashing the past. Though if their barbed Twitter exchanges during the episode are any indication, that’s going about as well as Jen‘s legal strategy.

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Cut to Meredith and Mary getting together to play tennis. Spoiler: this goes about as well as you’d expect. It’s certainly not Wimbledon, but both ‘Wives manage to turn out looks in their best tennis whites. (Meredith’s certainly the first person I’ve ever seen attempt to volley in a fur coat…) After hitting a few balls back and forth, the ‘Wives take a break to compare notes on their respective relationships. And here’s where we learn a few more intriguing tidbits about Mary’s rather non-conventional marriage. First, as already revealed in the trailer, Robert Sr. and Mary have always had separate bedrooms. Meredith maintains a total poker face at this revelation, and doesn’t pry or ask more questions about the arrangement. But that doesn’t stop Mary from offering answers.

In her confessional, she lays down the harsh truth: she would absolutely change her husband if she could. We’re talking, like, virtually everything about him. On Mary‘s list of qualities Robert Sr. apparently doesn’t possess are basic characteristics like humility, the ability to apologize, being passionate, and just being really and truly alive. And this far into their marriage, she’s not interested in trying to change him. Or even really get to know him again. Instead, she’s worried about what will happen once their son inevitably moves out and there’s nothing left between them but a giant void filled with endless scoops of (short-grained) rice.

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Finally, let’s get back to the topic of polygamy. Which comes up while Jennie and Duy are on a casual cross-country skiing date. Once again, he presses the topic of having more children. And despite Jennie’s protestations, her completely valid laundry list of reasons not to have another child (like the fact that it would put her health and possibly even her life at risk) fall on deaf ears. And frankly, as a viewer, I do not understand how Duy’s not getting it. No means no, man. Especially when it’s coming from your wife about such a serious subject.

Instead, he throws about possible solutions to solve what he sees as the problem. Solution A: a surrogate. But that would still put the couple back into newborn and toddler mode, and Jennie‘s not having it. Adoption, which is Duy‘s Solution B, would do the same, so that’s out of the question too. Which leaves only one completely reasonable and not at all insulting idea: bringing a sister wife into the family.

Now before you laugh it off, let me make it clear: Duy is completely serious about this. Apparently, polygamy is as much a thing in Vietnamese culture as it was in the early days of Mormonism. But Jennie still can’t believe what she’s hearing. And her husband doesn’t even seem to stop for a second to think about how such a touchy suggestion might make her feel. Offended? Yes. Angry? Absolutely. Jennie is completely done having this conversation. And to make her point, she storms off in a rage into the snow, ostensibly headed for home and leaving a confounded Duy in her wake.


[Photo Credit: Bravo]