People say, “You know Gerard…you’re so pretty, you’ve never looked better, you’re so smart, you’re independent…” Yeah, I fucking know that shit!! But it may shock you to learn that, despite my panache, my elan, I am a relative Housewives novice. So welcome to what I guess is a series where I walk you through my new discoveries of old seasons. In hono(u)r of my Canadian co-bloggers, picture it: British Columbia, 2012. Four…okay, fine, *five* women, one city, a whole lot of personality disorders.
Could G-d create a television personality so boring even He would have to fast-forward through their scenes? The answer to this long-debated theological question is YES. Reiko Mackenzie likes fast cars and martial arts. And that, is Reiko. She drives cars, or buys them, or models next to them. She practices martial arts, or enters martial arts competitions, or starts martial art studios. She has no clear personality traits. There are NPCs from 90s computer games with more evident interiority.
Reiko briefly becomes useful toward the end of the season, when she wages war with Jody over some arcana about credit card billing. That’s chiefly interesting as a Jody matter, though, and it’s not even a top ten Jody matter, with one notable exception:
No context necessary, to be honest. Anyway, Reiko’s apparently gay now! But surely still boring.
Christina Kiesel is, in a sense, Reiko’s perfect opposite: a being of pure charisma. She may be a one-and-done, but I nevertheless consider her one of the greatest Housewives *of* all time. This despite the fact that she fucking hates doing the show and has to be cajoled, blackmailed, cattle-prodded, and so forth into actually showing up to film. The entire plot of the *second episode* is Christina bailing on a series of scheduled plans with basically every cast member, to the point that production has to mobilize her closest friends to track her down like wild game because the episode is meant to conclude with her birthday party. She eventually shows up, but the dulcet tones of her voicemail message echo still through the corridors of my mind.
(Speaking of those tones, by the way: Christina sounds (and looks and behaves, actually) like a Hitchcock heroine, her speech pattern inexplicably breathy and Transatlantic. No shade here, but my fellow Witches of Bitchiness Taylor and Tracey, like Christina, hail from the lovely suburb of Surrey, and I think they would agree that this is uh not the typical Surrey speech pattern. Let that complete the picture for you, I suppose.)
Anyway, the producers eventually coax dear Christina into continuing to film with the others, presumably by promising to comp all her vodka sodas, and she winds up floating through the action making bitchy comments behind Jody’s back. This gloriously culminates in a late season storyline where she decides to torture Jody by pretending(?) she fucked Jody’s daughter. Try and tell me this program isn’t high art.
The Unholy Trinity
But the main focus of the action is the trio of ladies who will return for Season 2. Mary Zilba is a former pop star…well, “star” trying to make a comeback with her new (and omnipresent) song “Hero.” Ronnie Negus is Mary’s friend of nearly two decades, a problem drinker who, healthily enough, is starting a wine label called Rehab. The Ronnie/Mary relationship is built on grievously unhealthy cycles of co-dependence and resentment; I see you nodding your head and yes, you’re right, this is the perfect Housewives brew. Into their lives and ours enters a malign force from Akkadian legend, Jody Claman. Jody and her daughter/demonic familiar/alleged Christina fuckpiece Mia spend most of their days terrorizing employees at their vintage store for petty entertainment, but when they need to find a bigger dose of human life force to feed on they show up to film this show.
When we meet the ladies, Ronnie’s in a phase where she likes to fall off the wagon, get publicly hammered, and then excoriate Mary for letting it happen/existing in general:
The parlous state of their relationship presents the perfect opportunity for Christina and Jody to leap in and use the two ladies to fight their proxy war. As Christina rapidly loses interest in actively engaging Jody, though, Jody’s Sauron eye shifts toward Mary Zilba, and a death grudge is born. Now Jody is suuuuch a mean piece of shit, don’t get me wrong, but Mary’s self-pitying wet noodle nature makes it enjoyable to see Jody show up to random events and ambush her about how awful her plastic surgery is, how she needs therapy, needs to get some MAW RULS, etc.
Ladies Who Lunch (On Each Other’s Flesh)
After weeks of absurd hemming and hawing between her supposed friend and a near-literal vampire, a resolute Ronnie, production earpiece snugly in place, decides to settle things by coercing the other Wives into a group lunch. Once there, Ronnie, a xanned-out Poirot, lays the other women’s issues with Jody at the Dragon Lady’s feet; undaunted, an as-ever indoor-sunglassed Jody hits back, primarily by accusing the others of slander for describing her vintage goods as “second-hand,” which, it turns out, is chiefly a matter of Jody not knowing where most vintage goods come from.
Hilariously, Ronnie uses the subsequent reunion to perform a complete about-face, inexplicably aligning with Jody as a final break with/attack on Mary. A gleeful Jody uses this alliance to her advantage, as she builds her anti-Zilba assault toward an outright Fatality. The wild scene culminates in Jody literally serving Mary and Christina papers (for the second time in Mary’s case), which they promptly cast aside like so much detritus.
For my money, though, the true climax of the season is when Ronnie swerves straight into non sequitur and goes on an extended dramatic monologue about her child nearly choking to death on a piece of steak, a tale of woe in which she herself needs CPR and her beloved maid suffers a heart attack. God bless us, every one.
Next season on the Real Housewives of Vancouver: a tea party. Sounds nice, right…?