Happy Easter everyone! Jesus died so we could watch some pre-menopausal women get stuck into each other; so let’s dig into another episode of the Real Hot Potatoes of Melbourne.
We’re picking up from Gamble’s wedding ceremony in Byron Bay, and what comes after a wedding? The reception! Obviously, the reception is place you want to be, it’s where they serve the food and copious amounts of alcohol. When it’s your close friends and family there’s usually a disaster, so what will happen when seven ladies who are contracted to be there turn up?
All the guests are mingling back at the hotel, and Gamble and Rick walk in as the new Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe. It’s pretty cute, and I’m pleased to see someone in this dreary hellscape of estrogen feel genuinely happy if only for a fleeting moment in this cruel world.
In the crowd, Susie is flirting (via text) with Marcello, who jumped straight out of a Sophia Loren movie, with the help of Chyka: a woman who has not dated in nearly 30 years. She says that they should definitely catch up, and I guess we’re watching the 50-year-old version of sexting.
Lydia, Jackie and Pettifleur corner Brian – aka Mr. Janet – to quiz him about all things Viagra, and whether he is going to get back with Janet. He tells them all about his little blue pills and happy endings in Pattaya, and Lydia wretches at the thought of old man Brian getting a sly wristy from a masseuse. Okay, Lydia. Your husband isn’t exactly modeling for GQ, so let’s just calm down with the dramatics.
Gamble is mingling with Gina, and feels like she owes her an apology for her desertion the previous night, but she won’t bring it up right now because we’re only half way through the season/it’s also her wedding day.
We then get to witness one of my favourite tropes of the Real Housewives franchise: the ‘I think I’m off-camera’ chat. Oh, these are a delight. Some of you Housewives academics like myself may remember in season one when Gina was caught with her radio mike in the bathroom saying that she thought Lydia was the c-word. In other Housewives series’ people have been caught cheating on their partners and even falling off the wagon when they have a drug addiction.
In this particular instance, Gina is with Lydia and just asks her flat out about who told people that she was having a premiere party for Celebrity Apprentice? The answer is Gina. Gina said it, on camera, when she knew she was being filmed. Lydia then says to “just keep [to] that story” when she says ‘No, I told people you already had a cake organized’ ostensibly for her son’s birthday.
We then get to go around the cocktail area where all the other housewives are on the hunt for the truth about whether Gina dogged Gamble. Look, I get it – allegedly, Gina doesn’t present a true version of herself on camera. But is it that big of a deal? But Chyka and Susie come up with the dirt first, asking a nice young man called Bodie (ugh) what he was doing coming out of Gina’s room when they got back to the hotel. Bodie flat out tells them that they had been watching Celebrity Apprentice with Gina and her sons.
Jackie and Janet are also torturing confessions out of wedding guests, and Jackie – who has definitely hit a flute of bubbly or nine – busts Alin, dressmaker/wedding planner about whether he was watching silver fox Mark Bouris and his merry band of misfit celebrities. Alin wasn’t actually there, but Janet can’t let it go. She’s caught Gina in a lie and she will beat this horse until it’s ready to be called mince and sell at Aldi.
Gina decides to mitigate the situation in the worst way possible, addressing it head on with Gamble with rhetorical questions like “Oh, who am I gonna invite to a party?” “Why would I have a party anyway?” and so forth. She’s just digging herself into a hole, that will eventually hurt her friend Gamble more when she finds out the truth.
Meanwhile, the storm clouds that threatened to ruin the wedding last week finally hit, so everyone gathers around the long reception table, but the cake looks like it’s about to fall over because of the wind and rain. Frankly, it’s Gamble and Rick’s (and Alin’s, oh my god) fault for having a 10-tiered cake.
It’s time for speeches. Rick and his son, Luke, both give very emotional speeches about how Gamble made their family complete. Gamble gives her speech about how loving and kind Rick is, and how Luke is like her real son and, ugh, emotions. Even Pettifleur cracks a smile that isn’t borne out of pushing Gamble down a flight of marble stairs.
Chyka and Janet corner Gina at a corner of the reception table. Did she DARE to go back to her room and watch Celebrity Apprentice? How could she? The nerve! Janet has worked herself up into a frenzy. Gina lied! We have proof! She nearly busts a botoxed eyebrow with how chuffed she is that she can finally show Australia what Gina (allegedly) does behind the scenes (i.e. present an image of herself that is less than perfect.)
Gina is pretty unfazed. So what if she did? She’s an adult, she can do as she damn well pleases. So to finish this non-conversation, she asks the ladies to politely “Go f*** yourselves.” Classic. Probably my favourite moment of the exchange is that Chyka responds with “Okay, good.” Janet just sits there, mouth agape. The conversation, for now, is over. And Gina walks away without facing any consequence.
Back in Melbourne, Jackie and Janet catch up about whether Gamble will hash it out with Gina, and they both agree that Gamble definitely needs to address it. Jackie moves on to see if Janet is ready to take Brian back. Janet is conflicted: she can admit that she still has feelings for him, but she doesn’t want to go back to the same relationship she had when he was doing his sex tour of South East Asia. It’s a real Ross and Rachel situation at this point; if Ross was actually one of the dinosaurs and Jennifer Aniston had gotten a facial reconstruction in a wind tunnel.
Gina is back home and on her way to visit her dad; who’s in a nursing home suffering from the early stages of dementia. It’s quite sad to see her try to explain things to him, which his memory is clearly starting to let go of. In her confessional, the façade of hairspray and bronzer fades just a little bit to show that she’s just a daughter trying to care for and connect with a parent who’s slowly marching towards an inevitable fate – a pretty scary dynamic, even for someone as fierce as Gina. There’s a poignancy when she says ‘Don’t forget me’ that’s quite touching and it would be nice to see this version of Gina more often, instead of cursing people out for accusing her for things.
Chyka’s home and she’s dealing with another crisis from her daughter, Chessie. Apparently she’s done with uni: o-v-a-h, over. Chyka and Bruce are very hesitant to let her drop out, and it’s weird to see real parenting with a logical decision process. Chessie is a living #firstworldproblem, and Chyka continues to be the mediator.
Hey, remember Susie McLean? Yeah, she’s on this show, apparently. Marcello The Italian has come down to Melbourne to go out on a date with Susie, so she’s taken Janet on a double date with Christopher from a few weeks ago.
The date starts well, Marcello turns up looking nice, but he’s not exactly the conversationalist.
From here on out it’s just a montage of everything that’s wrong with Marcello. He eats too much butter, he’s a bit of dickhead when he talks about women, cops a eye full of Susie’s tits at the dinner table; you know, your standard Tinder date experience. Susie’s ready to knock him out, so she better get out of there before she gets remotely interesting. She makes up an excuse and bids ‘Ciao, forever’ to Marcello and his scruffy Mediterranean charms.
Anyway, away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s restaurant scene, Gina is preparing a big family lunch for her son Myles, the son who apparently had his birthday in Byron Bay that couldn’t be missed.
Lydia and Pettifleur show up, because why not? Lydia has brought a gigantic spoon in order to stir shit, and she’s in fine form today. She brings up that Gamble was quite upset about the fact that Gina ditched them on the night before the wedding, but this gets Gina’s goat arced right up and she’s on the defensive. Oh well, I guess that’s drama for next time – because the episode ends with Gina questioning whether Gamble is a true friend.
Next week, in order to keep this train rolling straight towards hell, Lydia gets a portrait of Figaro commissioned and Jackie and Pettifleur (mainly Pettifleur) ruin another dinner with a screaming match. Good times. Until next time!
Lives in Brisbane, works in marketing, watcher of TV shows where women yell at each other at cocktail parties.