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RECAP: The Real Housewives of Auckland season 1 episode 3

RecapDaniel Backhaus

We’re back in Auckland this week where Angela has left another party in tears after speaking in beeps.

This week, we start at Anne’s country house, where she is setting up an unholy army of felines to surely take over New Zealand. Her husband, the delightfully named Richard Burton, is also there, although he seems to be fighting for second as Anne carves up roast chickens for the ‘pussies.’

Oh, and Anne loves to call the cats, ‘pussies’, because she’s from the Victorian Era and it didn’t mean that back then.  She’ll say it a lot this episode, and it’s not my favourite word, so I blacked out slightly when watching this for the first time.

Anne is holding the Pussy Galore party, an annual event to raise money for her cat charity, which I’m sure she skims from to research new methods of breeding weaponised cats that will begin an offensive on the North Island soon.

Anyway, Michelle comes around and for the second week in a row she’s forced to hang around animals. At this point, it’s almost as if her family signed her contract to appear on this show for her to be normalized against her fear/distaste of animals. 

Anne takes Michelle into one of the cat enclosures to feed the cats, and Michelle is a walking uncomfortable smile. Anne seems to relish the more Michelle starts to squirm, which is pretty great.

Eventually though, Anne kind of gets bored and finally gets to the point that she wants Michelle to model a fur coat for the auction at the party, and shows her a collection of fur coats that could bankrupt PETA with the amount of red paint they’d have to buy to throw over them. Of course, Michelle agrees, because she may not like animals until they’re skinned and have a ‘washing instruction’ tag on the inside lining.

Back in the city, Julia is off to have a vampire treatment, a process where they take plasma from your blood and reinject it into your person to promote smoother skin with only a 40% chance of hepatitis. Julia loves looking good, guys, so she’s well up for getting stabbed in the neck with a bloody syringe.

Louise and Anne tag along as the doddering aunts to ostensibly support Julia. However, they also come with ulterior motives, as is the way of the Housewife.

While Julia gets her blood drained, Anne takes it upon herself to question her on why she felt it necessary to bring up the gold digger rumours to Gilda at the dinner party. She and Louise feel ‘dropped in it’ when it was actually Julia who initiated the whole rumour amongst the circle.

Julia feels that she was completely in the right, and it’s sort of a sore spot for her as she is quite anxious to not be labeled a gold digger herself after marrying an older man.

Anne and Louise truly get it off their chests that they can’t trust Julia with any more gossip, leaving her to stumble home with a red neck and a bruised ego.

We get a brief scene with Angela and her ‘French PA’ Léa, who wears comically oversized glasses and is introduced with an accordion-heavy incidental. The only thing missing is a bunch of garlic, baguette and a Breton-stripe shirt.

It’s clear to see that poor Léa is both infantilized and overworked by Angela, who is treating her like Cosette from Les Miserables. I certainly hope Jean Valjean comes and buys her from the terrible Madame Angela soon.

At Julia’s house, she’s recovering from her neck needling, and invites her makeup artist around to process her thoughts and feelings about Anne and Louise confronting her.

Julia has decided that she’s woken up pissed off today, and feels hurt that Anne and Louise have disinvited her from gossiping about people at the He-Man Woman Haters Club. She calls Louise a ‘two-faced bitch’ and is insistent that Anne called Gilda a gold digger.

Look, I’m sure Anne has thought/written in her diary/called Gilda a gold digger, but what she did that was smart, Julia, is that she didn’t say it on camera.

We then get a useless scene in a furniture shop that was surely named by the Flight of the Conchords, Trenzseater.

Angela wants to buy stuff for her temporary Auckland apartment, and mindlessly browses $4000 chairs and other expensive tchotchkes.

She also feels like it’s a good idea to invite Michelle who, for the purposes of being on this show, is an ‘interior designer.’

They go over why Angela should apologise to Gilda for her bleeped-out insult last week at Michelle’s dinner party, especially if Angela wants to be a part of the Auckland social scene of which Gilda is some sort of Don Corleone-figure. Angela doesn’t feel she should apologise, and they completely gloss over the awkwardness between the two of them.

Michelle then heads into town with Gilda to shop for their Pussy Galore outfits. Gilda is in no mood to hang out with Louise or Angela after the dinner party. She feels as though Louise ‘vomited’ the rumour first, but Angela ‘threw it in her face.’ What a horrible, yet apt, analogy.

Back in the country, Anne is full steam ahead with getting the Pussy Galore party ready for the herds of stray Auckland socialites that will be roaming around her Goose Creek vineyard.

Richard Burton is dutifully helping her set up, and he seems like a stand up guy, even when Anne starts to pull out the personally engraved wooden boxes containing ashes of her dead cats.

Now, for a cat lover, I can understand keeping the remains of one or two cats that might have been special to you over the years. No – Anne has about twenty boxes, each with a personalized poem or eulogy to the cat. Yikes.

Apart from a slight mishap with a brief power outage, it all seems to be going smoothly – especially when Anne calls her electrician out from his dinner to come and fix it.

Anyway, all the guests start to pile in, including Angela who has kidnapped Lea to come with her as her plus one. Angela is wearing a skintight latex/pleather catsuit-type situation, and she must of known that because she’s tall and not stick-thin that she’d cop some comments. It gets worse because Julia arrives not long after wearing the same catsuit! “How embarrassing is that,” Anne quips.

All the Housewives start to arrive, but Gilda arrives last to a circle of them enjoying champagne. Going around, she kisses Anne, Michelle and Julia but jumps on Louise, asking her why she’d get a friendly reception after what she shared with Angela. And as for Angela, Gilda straight out tells her she’s not going to say hello to her.

This immediately puts Angela on the defensive; sniping to Léa that Gilda is ‘the nasty one.’ Léa just smiles and nods, secretly scanning for the most discreet exit out of the marquee.

The party starts to roll on, and Louise starts to feel the chill of the freezer that Gilda has put her in. She decides to hash it out with Gilda, seeing as they are neighbours and she doesn’t want her flicking the dog poo over the hedge.

Gilda and Louise get into a pretty heated discussion over the bleeped rumour. Gilda feels as though Louise shouldn’t have said it to Angela, because it gave her a base to stand on and shout it at the dinner table. Louise agrees that she probably shouldn’t have said it, but Angela probably would have found another way to get at Gilda.

Louise feels that Angela ‘will do anything it takes to try and destroy Gilda,’ which is certainly very dramatic, but appeases Gilda and Michelle, who’s walked over by this point, to where Louise is generally off-the-hook.

Julia decides she hasn’t said anything for a while, so she takes Michelle off to explore Anne’s country house with its vintage décor. They spend a few minutes picking apart Anne’s taste, and it’s pretty tacky. They make fun of her old-fashioned room with china displays and old portraits, which comes off especially mean as Anne hasn’t been anything but nice to Michelle and certainly forgiving to Julia after putting her in hot water for the gold digger comments. It’s pretty gross on Julia and Michelle’s parts.

Back at the party, Anne emcees the fur auction as Michelle models it on stage and heaps compliments on her for increasing its final value, which makes her a class act and Michelle the mean girl of this episode for picking apart Anne’s home.

After the fur is sold, Michelle then decides to rank Julia and Angela’s matching catsuits in her own ‘Who Wore It Best?’ before quickly deciding that Julia wore it best and high fiving right in front of Angela.

Michelle then doubles down on the body shaming, telling Angela – who’s just standing there – to ‘pull your tummy in.’ It’s gross and unnecessary, and also the final straw for Angela who decides to stand up to Michelle.

Angela points out that she’s a size 10, which bursts a chip in Michelle’s brain.

“You’re not a size 10! Get over it! I think you’re more like a size 12,’ Michelle screams.

Michelle isn’t calling her fat; she’s just not an average sized model. This may well be true, but Michelle comes off as a real asshole in her delivery.

Unfortunately, Angela is not the best at delivering retorts, and decides to fire back with: “You’re not even a New Zealander, Michelle.”

This has nothing to do with anything, as New Zealand hasn’t developed some sort of pro-plus size stance separate from the rest of the world.

Gilda, who is also ‘not a New Zealander’ by Angela’s standards, decides to ask for clarification on what defines a New Zealand woman.

This is the red rag to the bull, and Angela wants Gilda to butt out before she turns her horns on her.

Angela immediately gets in Gilda’s face, asking what’s wrong with her and who is the real Gilda? It comes to a head with Angela calling Gilda ‘the little runt.’ But she also calls herself ‘the big runt’, which doesn’t make sense and sort of dilutes the insult.

Thankfully, Louise steps in before Gilda or Angela can headbutt each other and Anne calls Angela up on stage to be a part of a live auction item, which is a styling session courtesy of Angela’s business.

This wouldn’t be so weird except Léa has clearly been roped into bumping up the bids, and Julia seems to be the only other one bidding and ends up spending $4000 to hang out with a woman that she’s already contractually obliged to spend time with.

Anyway, after Julia (or rather, Michael) splurges four thousand hard earned New Zealand dollars on a woman whose styling advice consists of a printable PDF and a rack of mismatched co-ords, the Pussy Galore party starts to get fun and everyone’s out on the dance floor.

As far as Anne’s concerned, the night was a success – but she would think that because she wasn’t hanging around the gang of vultures picking at the carcasses of old cat skeletons that make up the rest of the cast.

Next week, Julia goes head to head with Louise and then breaks out the cock rings, because why the hell not?