We’ve arrived at the final hour of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Season 1. The third and final act of a historic three-part reunion. And you guys. I’m not ready for it to be over! Like really, really not. It’s been inarguably the best debut season of a new Housewives franchise since Beverly Hills back in 2010. And I’m saying that as a huge fan and ardent defender of the Potomac’s first season. (My original Bravo claim to fame was being behind one of the very first viewer-submitted reunion questions in RHOP history.)
But these SLC ladies delivered in every single way imaginable. They brought something new and completely different to the table, and added a fresh and unique POV to the Housewives universe. RHOSLC reinvigorated the franchise as a whole while some long-running tentpole cities are starting to feel stale and, ahem, long in the tooth. And that’s not just my bias talking as a born-and-bred former Mormon/Utah native. So indulge me while I savor this last recap before closing the door on Season 1 in Salt Lake City. K?
It’s reunion time, yachties! And the Below Deck crew has gathered from (literally) the four corners of the globe for a virtual sit-down with Andy Cohen. Did this season of Below Deck really need a reunion? The answer is debatable depending on how much you think a phrase like “Eat my cooter” needs to be discussed ad nauseam. Though I suppose there were a number of strings left loose in a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. So here we are. Anchors aweigh!
Personally, I love how Andy always insists on going fully in on the nautical wardrobe when he hosts these Below Deck reunions. Captain Lee Rosbach always dresses up in his finest. But the rest of the crew’s looks are…wildly disparate. Francesca Rubi and her feathered shoulders are coming all the way from Sydney. James Hough decided to put on a basic green shirt at home in the U.K. Elizabeth Frankini, meanwhile, is wearing a full rainbow gown in Florida. Sadly, though, we can only see maybe two colors of the rainbow since she’s stuck in a tiny box on Zoom.
My dear Good Vibe Tribe, welcome back to Week 3 of Summer House. I need to start this week’s recap with an editorial note. Almost a correction, if you will. When I was watching last week’s episode, I had completely forgotten the very real fact that Hannah Berner has a boyfriend. A serious one. He’s a very handsome 44-year-old Irish comedian named Des Bishop. They’ve been officially dating since July of 2020. It’s a matter of public record.
This means Hannah and her boyfriend were dating throughout the entirety of filming for Season 5. Which is odd because she has yet to mention him. She doesn’t talk about him in her confessionals. We don’t see her calling him at night to check in. So far, there’s been no mention of him whatsoever. But if they were dating, it throws all this drama with Luke Gulbranson into question. I get a lot of what Hannah’s referencing has to do with last season and its aftermath. And her feelings are totally valid. But why does she care so much if she’s already moved on with someone else?
How do you solve a problem like Mary Cosby? That was the main question running through my mind after Part 2 of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion. Honestly though, has any Housewife in history ever made such blatantly problematic statements as Mary did in this episode? I almost don’t even know where to start digging in, to be honest. Nothing about any of it was OK or, frankly, made very much sense at all.
And that’s not all! During Part 2, there were jaw-dropping revelations, new nicknames, an epic walk-off, and even a surprise cameo by Lisa Rinna via text. (Turns out, like the rest of the Housewives universe, she’s a major fan of the RHOSLC ladies. That’s called having taste. Just ask Rihanna. As Mary pointed out repeatedly during the episode, we have a lot of cards to get through, so let’s jump in, shall we?
Well. This was certainly not the way the Below Deck crew expected this season to end. Particularly Elizabeth Frankini, whose firing at the end of last week’s episode became, well, flagrantly unnecessary in hindsight. But it still happened. To say she’s shell-shocked by the decision would be…a bit of an understatement. But it’s clear Francesca Rubi is taking a kind of pleasure in forcing her off the yacht. Downstairs, Elizabeth bursts into tears, and decides the best thing to do is beg Francesca for her job back. If only the chief stew would stop and reconsider what she’s doing.
The majority of the crew seems equally dumbfounded, and doesn’t seem to agree that Elizabeth should’ve been fired. Especially considering that, while Francesca is using the guest cabin debacle as her last-straw excuse, Eddie Lucas isn’t firing James Hough. For the exact same thing! They hooked up in the guest cabin together! Rachel Hargrove is particularly upset. Ashling Lorger, meanwhile, gives her fellow stew a sympathetic hug — all while side-eyeing the cameras and later celebrating with Chess.
It’s Episode 2 of Summer House, and if you thought six weeks in quarantine would put our beloved Good Vibe Tribe into the proverbial pressure cooker, you were right. Because drama is already starting to boil. We’ve got a love triangle in full swing. A couple bickering over traditional gender roles. Gossip flying through the house at warp speed. And maybe even one or two happily ever afters in the making. Because apparently it’s possible to find — and maintain — love, even in a global pandemic. Who knew?
Two things I noticed from a production standpoint this week. First, it seems we’re in for a lot of Zoom calls and FaceTime this season. Which is apropos considering the isolation we’re all living through these days. But still, it felt noticeable. The other change, and maybe this is just me, is that production seems to be relying more on mounted cameras throughout the house than usual. It could just be an editing choice, because it wasn’t something I noticed last week during the premiere. But it’s also possible that, because of the pandemic, production has fewer camera crews in the house than in seasons past.
It’s reunion time for the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City! And considering this will be the first three-part reunion for a debut season in Housewives history, it’s sure to be historic. The elaborate, winter wonderland-themed set certainly fits that bill. It’s gorgeous. With Andy Cohen as their trusty guide, it feels like the ladies were dropped into a fairytale Utah ski village in the middle of New York City. Which brings up a small point in production. At one point in an Instagram Live, Andy revealed he had his ticket to SLC booked for the reunion…but they filmed it in New York. I assume that changed because of COVID. But I can’t help but wonder how it was easier to fly all six ‘Wives and some of their husbands to NYC…
Speaking of the ‘Wives, let’s talk reunion fashion! Apparently the ladies’ silver, red and gold color scheme was chosen as a nod to Utah’s long mining history. But as a Utah native, I certainly didn’t catch the reference. It’s mostly just looked like an oddly-chosen color palette. Of all the dresses, Lisa Barlow‘s liquid copper look is my far-and-away favorite. It’s minimalist, which is her style, and not overdone like some of her co-stars. Whitney Rose is stunning in her ruby red gown, though it leans a bit holiday decor for my personal taste. In fact, it’s the perfect complement to Teresa Giudice‘s iconic green “Christmas pageant dress” at the RHONJ Season 4 reunion so many years ago.
Will lying to a charter guest come back to haunt you? That’s the question on Ashling Lorger‘s mind as we set sail on another week of Below Deck. At the end of last week’s episode, the stew cut off the alcohol for the primary’s two sons. And now she’s worried she’s going to pay for it. In the form of putting the entire crew’s tip in jeopardy. One one hand, they tried to jump into the tender and almost went for a swim. On the other, one of the boys threw an alcohol-fueled tantrum at two in the morning. But what are the chances he’ll even remember the night before after half a bottle of Hennessy?
Turns out, chances are high. The next morning, the first thing he does is complain to anyone who will listen about the mean stew who lied about the hot tub and sent him to bed. Including Francesca Rubi, who’s baffled that Ashling would do anything to anger a rich, spoiled charter guest. However, when she hears Ashling’s side of the story, she naturally sides with her bestie. The teenager conveniently failed to mention trying to drunkenly board the tender. Or going out on the swim platform. Over breakfast, his parents also laugh off his complaining, and the issue is essentially dead in the water. Phew. Tip crisis averted.