It’s Mardi Gras weekend, peoples! In the spirit of acceptance and advancing social freedoms for marginalised groups, let’s watch some highly-strung women yell about stuff!
This week, we start at La Maison de Gamble, where she is catching up with her fiancé, Rick, and stepson over her impending nuptials. As far as Gamble is concerned, Rick just needs to show up, sign the cheque and live happily ever after. He seems happy with that arrangement, and it’s actually quite cute.
Gamble is then onto finalising the guest list. She wants to know if Rick’s son, Luke, will be bringing a plus one – he’s caught in a love triangle, and might be going solo to avoid the hassle. As it must, Rick brings up Pettifleur. Gamble doesn’t want to specifically exclude her, but the way things are currently (especially after Black Widow-gate) – she’s not frantic to type up her invite.
Rick, sagely, suggests that an invite would be like an olive branch – but Luke would rather Pettifleur not be around his father and soon-to-be stepmother at all.
Next, Gina and her power bottom, Josh, are headed to Chemist Warehouse headquarters to start the ball rolling on a fragrance. BECAUSE WHAT BARRISTER DOESN’T HAVE THEIR OWN FRAGRANCE HAHAHA.
Josh is just trying to live his best life, but whatever it is, it is not as a personal assistant. He forgot his phone and his main contribution to the meeting was to stare blankly at whoever was talking. When the execs ask him what colognes he likes, he can barely string together a sentence before chasing something shiny out of the room.
To be fair, he does offer a good suggestion when they’re trying to figure out a name – with ‘Fearless’ already taken (also the name of Gina’s autobiography, and available at all good airport bookstores and gay men’s bedside tables), he suggests translating it into another language. But then is hopeless when asked what language might work. Oh, Josh. You sweet, sack of hair.
The gist of the meeting is to get a feel for what Gina would want any perfume with her name on it to smell like. She sarcastically offers garlic as a smell from her childhood memories, and the Chemist Warehouse execs are like ‘Uh-huh, sure,’ while giving each other worried looks. They eventually come up with something that will probably smell like Banana Boat, and will eventually be purchased as a Secret Santa gift for women who have inspirational quotes framed on their desks at work.
Next we’re off to the penthouse to visit Pettifleur. She has her sister, Gillian, around and it’s suuuuuper awkward, you guys. It’s clear that they haven’t spoken for a while, and Gillian is so frosty, she’s positively frozen. Pettifleur keeps pushing to know why Gillian isn’t more receptive to being friendly, and she drops a line on Pettifleur that is just pure, 24-karat gold: “You’re up yourself.”
Gillian then goes on to scold Pettifleur for wanting to talk about Chanel bags and Louis Vuitton accessories, when she has a normal life with a job she has to go to everyday and kids that she has to drop off at school. Pettifleur hears this, and is immediately on the defensive, why isn’t her sister interested in her latest purchases? Who cares if she doesn’t know where Gillian has worked for the better part of a decade? What is family anyway if not a sounding board for your own vanity?
Then it’s a quick scene where Oprah/Chyka gives Jackie advice on balancing kids and career. There’s some tears and handholding and everyone gets a soy candle.
Over in Malvern, Johanna continues her struggle for civil rights while the plantation owner, Lydia, finally gets delivery of her brand new Porsche. After some gross flirting with the salesman, which she really needs to stop, Lydia mercifully releases Johanna from her driving duties for Mrs. Schiavello – but not after some reeeeeally racist commentary on Johanna’s driving abilities! Asians don’t know how to drive, their languages all sound the same! What fun!
Next it’s over to a funky coffee klatch with Janet and her former stepdaughter from her last marriage, Fiora. It’s actually a touching, human interaction and reminds us what actual human emotion is like behind the botox and chemical peels that make up a Real Housewife.
Fiora is playing Lindsay Lohan-in-The Parent Trap and wants Janet and her father to get back together. There could be something kind of gross about an adult wanting to force a relationship between two other people, but it plays as very real, and it’s quite touching to see a daughter reaching out to a mother figure. UGH, TOO REAL. Get back to fighting about what you say behind each other’s backs’!
Back at Gamble’s house, she’s getting ready to invite the girls around for drinks and hopefully hand out wedding invites! This should definitely all go smoothly and nothing could possibly go wrong!
Janet arrives with Brian, her ex-husband, because she doesn’t want to drink and drive – but before he can leave, Gamble’s already invited him as Janet’s plus one! It’s a friggin’ invite giveaway over here. All invites must go!
Susie, Jackie and Pettifleur arrive – and Pettifleur is apprehensive about why Gamble continues to invite her to events, as she speaks directly to a camera on a reality show.
Lydia arrives wearing a black robe, which is telling, compared to light and bright colours that everyone else is wearing. But before we can analyse the meaning of this, Gamble quickly whisks her away to speak privately – leaving the other housewives shocked at the rudeness of the gesture.
Downstairs, Lydia and Gamble make fun of Pettifleur’s ‘Russian’ fur hat and then suggest that because she’s training with a personal trainer who trains bodybuilders that maybe she’s transgender! You know. Normal, girlfriend chats.
Upstairs, Pettifleur is going deep; projecting all the insecurities of her relationship with both Gamble and Lydia onto the current situation. Jackie, Janet and Susie are quick to gee her up about Lydia – each of them siding with the lesser of two evils, which today is brought to you by Pettifleur.
Lydia is quick to play the ‘woe is me’ card, claiming that everyone is now against her – just because she wants to friends with Gamble and Pettifleur. Her opinion is valid, but the delivery is very passive aggressive – she calls Susie ‘jealous’ and Chyka ‘fake’. Shots fired.
Everyone reunites as Gina arrives, fresh from making sure Josh doesn’t stick a knife in the toaster. But rather than bask in her glow, Lydia summons Pettifleur to a side room to “have a chat,” in the same way that a mafia boss would ask you to have a chat before you turn up in pieces at various landmarks around the city.
Lydia, for all intents and purposes wants to apologise for setting the charge that blew up the whole Black Widow saga, but as is her wont – delivers the message very condescendingly, saying that she ‘invests her time’ in friendships and tries to figure out what the beef is between Gamble and Pettifleur. Lydia then points out that she refuses to call or text, and will only deliver news in person, like some kind of Amish version of the Herald Sun Confidential – which is the reason she has not spoken to Pettifleur in many a year.
Pettifleur, worryingly, is the voice of reason in this round of ‘Who Can Yell the Loudest?’ saying that Lydia betrayed her friendship, and the sisterhood by telling Gamble something that would obviously hurt her and any chance of friendship between her and Pettifleur.
The conversation then takes a very weird turn into some Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett in ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’ territory, with Lydia saying that no-one likes Pettifleur and that she’s the only one who will ever hang out with her/love her.
As Chyka arrives, Lydia and Pettifleur have decided to just start screaming at each other – calling in Jackie to mediate Lydia’s comments that everyone is speaking behind Pettifleur’s back.
Jackie, from her years as a princess on the Central Coast of New South Wales, knows how to deliver news delicately. So when Pettifleur asks if everyone has been speaking behind her back and hates her, Jackie summarises that it’s nothing that they haven’t said to her face – that she’s ‘annoying’ and ‘full of shit.’ Tact, thy name is Jackie.
Pettifleur is then caught in the middle, with even Lydia admitting that, yes, of course she’s annoying, but let’s all admit that I’m great! It’s actually a bit sad to see the usually blissfully unaware Pettifleur hear what the women normally reserve for their talking head interviews.
Jackie storms out to update the group on what Lydia has said to Pettifleur.
I’m not actually sure what happens next, because everyone starts talking at once and I had a seizure.
When I woke up in hospital, Jackie and Lydia had singled each other out for being bad friends. Lydia was saying Jackie had come from being a nobody in Newcastle, putting the emphasis on Castle LIKE A MANIAC, and Jackie screaming that Lydia had come from her mother’s vajayjay.
Anyway, Gamble, like the Ring Girl she was born to be, sounds the bell on this round of the Real Wrestlers of Melbourne, and invites everyone out to the deck to present them with wedding invitations.
Everyone succumbs to the Pavlovian conditioning of holding a champagne glass and calms down enough to let Gamble hand out the invitation. Gina gets one. Then Jackie. Then Chyka. Then Susie. Then Gamble’s weekend cleaner. Then the entire 2012 Broadway cast of Evita. Before finally, agonizingly getting to Pettifleur’s invitation.
I feel like Gamble wanted to make it a gesture, as in “Yes, Pettifleur, you too may witness my wedding alongside these people that I actually like.”
Pettifleur didn’t see it that way. Hoo, boy.
Instead of accepting the invitation with grace, Pettifleur IMMEDIATELY handed it back to Gamble, asking her to think about why she’s inviting her to such an intimate event.
Gamble, in a reasonable and measured response takes Pettifleur’s snub in her stride – throws her invitation off the balcony and tells her to ‘get f***ed.’
And that’s the end for this week! Next time, the fallout, more screaming, Janet’s been diagnosed with something and Susie vs Lydia! Will Tokyo survive from that battle of giants? Join us next time on The High Pitched Screams of Melbourne!
Lives in Brisbane, works in marketing, watcher of TV shows where women yell at each other at cocktail parties.