This week on The Real Housewives of Cheshire: Seema and Stacey were missing, and absolutely no one noticed.
Eight-Housewife seasons have a knack for separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the ensemble cast. NYC7, for example, did nothing more starkly than expose Kristen Taekman as an unnecessary appendix to the drama of the Upper East Side. Melbourne 3 rendered its new addition, Susie, instantly irrelevant. Similarly, Cheshire 6’s bloated cast of nine (one for every type on the Enneagram) has quickly been whittled down to four key players: Dawn, Tanya, Ester and Lauren.
It’s not fair to say they’ve done all the work; other Housewives speak up, in fits and starts. This was a solid episode for newbie Rachel and her weird precocious child actor affect, although the hour focused in more tightly on her twin, Katie, to the point where I wondered why they hadn’t just cast her instead. The woman has four houses, seems far more inclined to start drama than her sister (a flatly pleasant woman with a Renée Zellweger in “We Both Reached for the Gun” vibe), and is willing to have a drunken on-camera meltdown about feeling like the ugly twin. Nicola and Teresa didn’t stick around long enough on RHONJ to make a mark, so inter-twin drama is new and fertile ground for the franchise. It’s rare enough to want two of any of these women (take a moment to contemplate two Vickis, two Ramonas, two NeNes).
Otherwise, though, this was the Dawn Ward power hour. It’s become apparent that the drama of Cheshire hangs on Dawn to a startling degree, so much so that this episode was largely about trespasses she committed from her hospital bed before the season even started. Specifically, she’s still litigating with Lauren the drama about her calling the paps on her own hospital guests (I believe this happened). It’s also been revealed by Ester, Cheshire’s reliable leaky sieve, that Dawn was privately cackling over Tanya getting abused on social media (I also believe this happened). The episode ended with Dawn bellowing JOG ON, DICKHEAD across a crowded lido deck in Gibraltar, which triggered my Big Brother UK PTSD in ways you can’t imagine. You already look like Helen Wood, Dawn; don’t make this any harder on me.
- in between her drama with Tanya and Lauren, Dawn managed to whip up some almost certainly staged but still pleasant conflict with non-cast-member Katie by stealing her hair stylist. Love an extra credit assignment, me.
- always nice to see Dawn on the cast trip, given that she’s been exiled from every group vacation since I think season three for being despised by everyone.
- a solid showing from Bitchy Witches fave Ester, who spent the back half of the hour cruising around in the winsome get-up pictured above, trying to ignite a drunken lesbian tryst with, again, Katie the non-Rachel twin. I wonder if they’ll just bring Katie to the reunion instead of Rachel and never acknowledge the switch.