We’re recovering from Anne’s Pussy Galore party, so pull in your tummies, gold diggers; it’s time for another episode of the Real Housewives of Auckland.
This week we open to house hunting with Angela Stone. The Christchurch transplant is looking for a new home to move her partner and three kids into something more permanent than the apartment she’s renting.
She’s brought along her French PA Léa who is completing her internship in menial tasks, and gets to look at houses with her boss. Walking around the house, Angela asks if they have ‘indoor-outdoor flow’ in France and then jams her into test the claustrophobically tiny lift. What a great experience that I’m sure she’ll pop on her LinkedIn.
They go out to the house’s tennis court where Angela puffs up her feathers to the real estate agent about wanting to drop $7-8 million on a home, which the agent wisely calls her bluff on and asks her to make an offer if she’s got that much to spend. Then Angela’s phone goes off and, thanks be to the producers, it’s Michelle.
Michelle wants to catch up with Angela to discuss recent goings on like body shaming and rumour spreading. Angela agrees to catch up, but she’s not sure if she’s going to get the ‘nice’ Michelle or the one who’s always making digs about her being inappropriately dressed for her shape. Léa just nods and smiles, wondering if she could get the same fashion styling course credits by just standing near the changing rooms at H&M.
Away from the suburban malaise of people wildly over exaggerating their purchasing power, Louise has organized an acting workshop and invited Julia and Michelle along. Julia is still smarting from the ‘gold digger’ comments leveled at her from Anne and Louise at her vampire neck treatment last week, while Michelle is genuinely there just to get out of the house.
They do some warm up exercises and then decide to move on to an imitation challenge. Big mistake.
Louise decides to imitate Gilda, pretty harmlessly (and with an unknown accent), which Julia takes offense to, given that Louise has just slipped out of responsibility for saying ‘the rumour’ a few weeks ago.
It’s Julia’s turn next, and she decides to do an impersonation of Louise. Uh oh.
She starts off playing Louise as an imperious duchess, which is fun but then gets weird when she announces, as Louise, that ‘I’m a back-stabbing bitch’. In her confessional, it seems that it stems from Julia feeling that because she’s married to someone with money, which means that she’s not as high on the pecking order as Louise, who inherited wealth.
To be honest, if someone’s making you feel that inadequate, why would you want to be like that person? But don’t listen to me.
Louise just says ‘yep, that’s pretty much it’ to wind up Julia, but Julia isn’t in the mood for joking.
‘You should probably back off with that, because you’re going to get other people thinking you’re a stuck up bitch,’ she says.
The bewildered acting coach makes them have a group hug, which Michelle is all in for in case Julia punches Louise, and then they decide to pack up and leave.
Louise asks, seriously, what Julia’s problem is, with all her snippy comments – but Julia is truly wound up now. She wants Louise to get off her high horse, stop telling people what to do and that she’s ‘full of shit’.
Louise has had enough and just walks out, leaving Michelle standing in the middle. Julia, however, has burnt her chance to invite Louise personally, along with the other married couples, to her vineyard for the weekend – but Michelle convinces her to reach out anyway. Julia calms down, and rationalizes Louise’s attitude as being untouchable in this group.
Later, Michelle heads to a restaurant to meet Michelle and both are frosty once they’re sat down across from each other. They both agree that the party went off the rails, and Angela wants to know why Michelle was so hung up on comparing her body to Julia, asking her to pull her stomach in. Michelle is unapologetic, and asks if Angela is so into empowering women, why did she repeat the rumour about Gilda at their first dinner party?
Michelle brings up that she should really try to make amends with Gilda, Angela agrees, and they aggressively shake hands to signify that they’re moving forward, and yet nothing is resolved.
The next day, Angela is taking Léa out to lunch to meet Anne, who turns out to be a Francophile. As it turns out, that morning, Léa had crashed Angela’s car and is a little shaken up – Anne is a little concerned that Léa is driving at all, and wonders how much of this internship is just running around to do Angela’s chores.
Anne decides to cheer up Léa by addressing her as a human, and speaking to her in French. She also decides to go undercover and find out what Angela’s really making her do. I’d be surprised if her chic little clutch wasn’t concealing a hidden camera.
Léa says she’s very stressed out at work, and Anne wonders if Angela is taking advantage of her desire to gain international work experience. Anne thinks that Léa would fit right in with her champagne business, and I have got nothing but time for Anne poaching Léa to work with her.
Over on Paritai Drive, Gilda has called in her chef for the day to spend some time at home with her kids and have Michelle over for lunch.
Michelle is mainly there to update Gilda on the Julia-Louise storm that’s brewing. Michelle retells the story in the most dramatic way possible, and Gilda is pretty shocked because she hasn’t seen Julia or Louise blow up in the past.
Then they move on to the latest with Angela, and Gilda is unsurprised that Angela hasn’t left Michelle with a concrete answer on where they stand. After lunch, they’re sipping a glass of champagne and who should call but Angela Stone, as I live and breathe.
It’s mostly a cheesy set up for Angela to ask Gilda to meet her for coffee, but the face Gilda makes when she picks up the phone to hear Angela is the main prize in this interaction.
Anyway, Gilda agrees to meet with Angela, even though she doesn’t want an apology from her, she just wants to see a change in behaviour. I’m sure this will go really well.
We then get a brief scene where Angela openly weeps at the panel beaters when she sees her children’s car, while passive aggressively telling Léa that she’s not angry with her. Poor Léa probably hoped she would be injured badly enough so she could have a rest in hospital. It’s mostly dumb, and for someone who’s supposedly got over $7,000,000 to splash on a house, her 2001 VW Golf is surprisingly precious to her.
Out in the country, Julia is getting ready to have Anne, Louise and Michelle (along with their significant others) to the vineyard for a wine tasting and lunch.
The real reason, though, is to show off that she really is a member of elite society to Louise. She seems very hung up on the fact that she’s not as good as Louise, just because she married up. I think it’s all in Julia’s head, and her husband, Michael, wisely points out that Louise probably knows she’s sensitive about it and has fun getting a reaction out of something so silly.
As Anne and her husband, Richard Burton, drive out to the country in their vintage Bentley, she updates him on the other wives attending lunch and she seems to make a point out of whether someone (Michelle or Julia) has come from a ‘monetary background.’ She seems to think that new money behaves differently, but that it seems ‘more appropriate when the man pays for the woman.’ It seems as though they’re stuck in 1963 and I insist that all of her scenes from here on out are shot in black and white.
Meanwhile, Michelle and her husband, Dave, the modern face of New Zealand’s wealthy are heading up to the vineyard in their Maserati. Michelle wants to update Dave on all the drama that’s happening in the group, but he’s a bloke so he is not interested. Michelle promises Dave that he’ll have ‘a bloody good time’ if it shakes down the way she’s picturing it.
Michelle and Dave turn out to arrive first, and Julia is relieved she has an ally to face Louise.
Anne and Richard Burton show up, and Anne has to be caught up on the acting workshop drama. Julia starts explaining how she lost her cool with Louise, and about the gold digger comments that were brought up when she was getting her neck filled with blood.
Anne decides to jump in and say it’s natural to assume someone’s a gold digger, especially if the woman (like Gilda) was a twenty-something, marrying a man four decades older. Michelle also takes offence on Gilda’s behalf, and it starts to become a shouting match between old money Anne and the new money amazons of Michelle and Julia.
Dave decides it’s getting a little too heated, and steps in saying that Michelle only married him because he had a dollar more than her. No, she says, she married him because he had a big dick. Julia also tells Michael to keep his ‘Dixie’ out of it (as in Dixie Normous.)
Anne is disgusted, and wonders if it’s worth hanging out with this section of the group.
Back in Auckland City, Angela and Gilda are meeting up for coffee – but it’s clear that one of them (Gilda) can’t be bothered to be there if it’s not going to result in any great change.
It starts out well and Angela apologises straight away saying she never meant to hurt Gilda.
It’s a good start, but Gilda tries to dig a little deeper wanting to know if she knows why she would feel hurt by anything Angela had said. Angela says that it was clear by her reaction that Gilda was hurt, and she didn’t intend for that to be the result of her telling her the rumour.
Gilda decides that Angela isn’t willing to dig any deeper – she wasn’t hurt by her comments, more disgusted by her willingness to buy into the rumour mill so quickly. She is quick to call out Angela on her ‘façade’ and this gets Angela’s goat right up.
Angela goes on a tirade about how real she is, she’s writing a book about being real, this is me, I’m not fake, I’m actually a great person and I’m real.
Gilda just sort of sits there in stunned awe of how many times Angela can phrase ‘I’m a real person.’ She asks why she can’t just stop selling her image to the other women.
Angela mentions that she’s a brand, she can’t help if she’s always on message with the Angela Stone NZ Pty Ltd corporate guidelines.
‘You are a brand. There is nothing beyond your brand?,’ Gilda asks.
‘I don’t want to be friends with brands!,’ she continues. ‘A brand is a brand, it’s not a human being.’
Angela is not hearing any of it – so Gilda suggests that she leave her brand at home, and ‘bring the actual Angela Stone’ and leaves. Again, nothing gets resolved, and I have a feeling that Gilda won’t be bidding for the contract to run Angela Stone Styling’s Facebook account.
Anyway, back at the vineyard, Julia, Michelle and Anne are waiting around wondering if Louise will show up, when they notice a BMW heading up the drive. Julia is nervous about how Louise will react, as if she’ll deck her when she goes up to her.
Louise comes in and kisses down the greeting line, including the double kiss when she gets down to Julia. Julia is relieved finding out that Louise is willing to move on.
All the ladies head in to the lounge to enjoy a glass of wine, and Michelle and Louise spot a book of nude photography which they decide to flick through. Anne, however, is left with a bad taste in her mouth after all the dick talk outside so decides to refrain from looking.
Julia thinks it’s ridiculous to be so prudish, so what’s a natural thing to do to your guest? Bring out your personal sex toy collection, of course!
Julia brings out a bag and pulls out a cock ring, and passes it around before busting out a couple of vibrators. Michelle is in hysterics, while Louise politely enquires about their function, like she’s at a trade fair stand. Anne just sits, politely smiling and quietly mortified on the inside.
Anne confirms her assessment of Julia when she goes one sexual innuendo too far, and decides that Julia is not her kind of people, before subtly ushering everyone back to find their husbands.
The men are all having a chat in the cellar, and ask what the girls have been talking about, and Julia tells Michael that she had to show everyone the cock ring. I don’t think anyone pulled out a gun and asked to see the Sloane-Lorimer’s marital aids, but hey, editing, right?
Michael, of course, turns beet red, and Michelle wonders if Michael is embarrassed of his new wife’s eagerness to reveal their intimate secrets.
Louise decides to change gear and rounds up all the girls present to drop a surprise on them, a trip to Port Douglas, in Far North Queensland, Australia. She wants to learn more about everyone and, more importantly, cobble together some fixes for the fractures in the group at the moment.
The wives all cheers, and that’s it! Next week, Anne gets a spray tan, and we’re live from Port Douglas as the Kiwis invade Australia.
Lives in Brisbane, works in marketing, watcher of TV shows where women yell at each other at cocktail parties.