'The One where Chyka gets angry.'
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and so we, similarly, are doomed to watch Part Two of the Real Housewives of Melbourne’s trip to Dubai.
We pick up from the dinner from hell in the desert, where Pettifleur is copping an absolute hammering from the rest of the group for her behaviour.
Pettifleur explodes, telling the ladies they should be ashamed of themselves for attacking one person. I kind of get it, it’s not nice to be singled out, but her complete lack of a willingness to take responsibility or at least hear what the other ladies gripes are with her leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Instead, Pettifleur is on the defensive lashing out at their point that she commonly criticizes Chyka for her sense of style, saying that she thought she was complimenting her.
Gina’s has reached the limit of what she can take and decides that the only way to get through to Pettifleur is to match her volume and tone, and screams for her to ‘snap the f*** out of it!’ She rehashes all the points, only this time with more expletives – boiling down to the fact that Pettifleur expects to treat people a certain way (badly) and then is completely shocked when people turn around and attack back.
It’s a good point, well made; but do you think Pettifleur will listen? Nah. Pettifleur thinks she’ll change her behaviour when she deems it necessary. Oh, look over there! It’s the point, and Pettifleur has completely missed it. She actually lies down halfway through Gina talking to get her to stop, but it just reinforces the groups opinion that she’s spoiled and living on another wavelength to them.
Gamble, mercifully, decides to break the tension by singing a song about the Country Women’s Association to Susie, which has overtones of ‘Jerusalem’, but with more references to the anti-feminism vibe that the CWA inspires. It’s pretty fun, and also Lydia thinks that the individual branches represent countries.
Anyway, enough of this. Chyka catches up with her husband and son after they surprised her in the desert, and then the whole group (minus Lydia and Pettifleur) head off to the souks in two groups, Susie, Gina and Jackie in one and Chyka, Janet and Gamble in the other.
The groups break down the dinner last night, and they’re all agreed that Gina’s approach was probably the correct one. Gina acknowledges that she may have been a bit harsh with her tone, but it wasn’t a personal attack on Pettifleur – rather the culmination of two seasons worth of Pettifleur’s holier-than-thou act. They all agree that it’s Pettifleur’s burden to bear, how she comes out of it, but at this point none of them are willing to deal with her.
Well, let’s find out if she’s taken anything on board – because we visit Pettifleur who has isolated herself on the beach. Lydia saunters up, ostensibly to comfort her friend.
Of course, Pettifleur has taken it all deeply personally, and is feeling sorry for herself. Lydia, to her credit, tries to pull something deeper out of Pettifleur – but she won’t budge. She feels attacked, and wants a sounding board rather than a friend who will objectively explain the criticisms of the other ladies.
Lydia, to completely burn the small amount of goodwill we just afforded her, decides to go off on a rant about how everyone was praising Chyka’s blog at the dinner (in a conversation explicitly talking about Chyka’s blog) but no-one deigned to heap adoration on Lydia for her blog (after she desperately tacked it on to conversation.)
It’s then back to Pettifleur, and how her ‘arrogancy’ offends the group. Pettifleur doesn’t react well to Lydia’s observation. And, in her defense, if I was feeling as precious as she was about everyone criticizing me, valid or not, I wouldn’t appreciate more criticism. But that’s more to do with Lydia’s delivery than anything else, so Pettifleur blows up and tells her to get lost.
This then destroys the calm beachy vibes that all the other guests are trying to enjoy, because Lydia decides to clap back at Pettifleur saying she’s an idiot, and this is why no one wants to hang out with her. Lydia actually brings up a valid point that Pettifleur keeps repeating behaviours that burn her relationships with other people, yet refuses to change. They have a little dance around how Lydia supports her, but it’s all just white noise at this point.
We get some scenes of Chyka working with the florist for the upcoming wedding that her company is organizing, and angling for a spin-off so she can get away from these nasty women she’s forced to spend time with.
Then, in order to fulfill some contractual obligations to the Dubai Tourism Board, Chyka, Janet, Gamble, Jackie and Susie all swing over to a Centre for Cultural Understanding to get a crash course in how they should behave in Dubai (hint: the opposite of what they’ve been doing so far.)
Anyway, the director of the center is very charming and explains the culture of the Emirati and Arabic people quite well, with dashes of humour. Janet is immediately smitten, while Jackie is obsessed with the plates of traditional food that is laid out in the middle of their circle. Also, Susie compares a niqqab to a wedding veil, so somebody please just marry this girl already.
All joking aside, it’s actually an insightful look into another culture – well, for a Housewives show, anyway. And I just thank god that Lydia wasn’t here to make a joke about polygamy or anything.
But all good things must come to an end. So we finish the episode in a restaurant where the ladies are sitting down to regroup after their day.
Thankfully, Chyka books a private dining room, probably because they’ll be arrested if they swear anymore in Dubai. Lydia and Pettifleur arrive last, and everyone goes out of their way to greet Pettifleur and compliment her outfit – it’s funny to see a Pavlovian response in action: they’ve been burnt before, they’ll cut it off at the pass now.
There are groups causing friction at this point: Lydia v Chyka, Gina v Gamble and Pettifleur v Everyone. Lydia, slyly, hijacks a toast to Chyka for organizing it – and immediately gets on the shit list, while Pettifleur is just ignoring everyone, not really participating in conversations. Fun party.
Gamble starts to talk about learning about the Islamic concept of checking five times a day whether you’ve harmed or wronged anyone and to apologise and let that person forgive you. And, boy, Pettifleur doesn’t miss that one.
She decides to use this as her jumping point to lecture the group about how wrong they are to tell her how to live her life. Janet tells her how irritated she is, and reiterates the point that no one actually likes her and to ‘get up and f*** off.’ She says that she’s tried with Pettifleur, but she’s done.
Then a miracle happens, Pettifleur apologises. She says if that’s the way that Janet feels, then she’s sorry. Of course, she’s not really sorry – but it’s what’s on the outside that counts, and at least she sounded like she meant it.
Gamble then uses this point to address why Gina isn’t as close to her anymore since Lydia and Pettifleur came back on the scene. She starts to cry about how hurt she is over the loss of closeness, but Gina isn’t having any of it – telling her to stop being a sook. It’s pretty harsh, but Gina explains that it’s because she doesn’t think Gamble has anything to cry over – rather than an active dislike of Gamble. Gamble accepts this, a bit like Tina Turner accepting that Ike Turner was a good manager despite smacking her around.
You’d think we could then sit down to a nice dinner in a swanky restaurant. But no. Jackie decides to take up with Lydia, why she thinks Jackie brings a ‘bad dynamic’ or bad energy to the group.
Hey, remember when the ladies went horse riding at the start of the season and Jackie said that Lydia had talked behind peoples backs? Well, turns out that was just the seed being planted, because the tree has now grown and we can harvest the juicy gossip that Jackie has.
Jackie accuses Lydia of gossiping maliciously about the ladies and their families (significant others, children etc) and that’s why Lydia should look at herself, before calling Jackie the bad energy of the group.
Lydia plays dumb, a role that she’s been perfecting since she landed a spot on the Real Housewives. What could she possibly have said? She thinks Jackie is making it up, but Jackie pulls her ace, saying that three women at the table have been the victims of her gossip – Chyka, Janet and Gina. Chyka is already shitty with Lydia, and gives her a cold look as she points out that she knows exactly what Lydia’s said, but she won’t repeat it and give it life on television.
Lydia continues to act oblivious, but Chyka isn’t having it. Normally quite reserved, she wants Lydia to just cop to it – and gets incredibly frustrated with Lydia’s ‘wow’s and ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’s. Chyka just tells her flat out to stop playing dumb, and that if someone brings gossip to Chyka – she doesn’t promulgate it like Lydia does, consistently.
Lydia’s innocence act wears so thin on Chyka, that she gets up and leaves – with her radio mic capturing what she really thinks about Lydia. And in season one, Gina was caught out saying that she was going to call Lydia a c*** - well, now in season three, Jackie actually calls her a ‘F***in’ C***’ when she’s in another room with Chyka.
And that’s it. Another dinner ruined. Next week, Lydia refuses to accept responsibility for her actions, Chyka continues to throw low key shade and the love affair between Lydia loses it with Pettifleur.
Lives in Brisbane, works in marketing, watcher of TV shows where women yell at each other at cocktail parties.