Only four seasons in and I already feel like I’m reading the Talmud when I get to these reunions. Below the fold, find out how I adjudicated all the off-camera rumour-mongering and shenanigans into something resembling a coherent ranking.
Could it really have been any other way? Not that this was a bad Venus performance by any means; I expected much more of a disaster from her, both before watching and during her initial segment when she tried to pass off “Colombian powder” as…not being a drug reference 🤔. Oh my sweet. But she rallied a bit when Alex grudgingly got Team Good to admit that Venus isn’t bad, per se, just a deluded weirdo. That said, when the host has to run interference for you…
As with Venus, not as bad a performance as we might have expected; it’s fuckin Lydia after all. Still, even at the height of her talents she can’t keep pace with these ladies, ultimately. Sure, she was able to shout Jackie to a relative draw, and had (and, somewhat irritatingly, has always had) the upper hand with Janet about fat-shaming. But I actually think her smirky girl-who-cried-wolf antics about whatever Janet did or did not say about Jackie has seriously backfired at this point. I understand why Lydia thinks she’s being clever, because she *is* *on surface-level* being clever, and also it’s Lydia how much does she really think, however. She has now (1) built up the gossip to be so earth-shatteringly awful that it’s literally impossible that whatever she produces will live up; (2) alienated cast and crew alike with her coy fiddling around like “I’ll tell Jackie after the reunion 😏” “I’ll never tell Jackie, because it’s that bad 😏” “I’ll tell Jackie…eventually 😏”, leading to (3) everyone just wanting the whole storyline dropped.
I know I’ve said that Lydia has nine lives, and she does, but there’s been a distinct undercurrent this season of her being right on the verge of overstaying her welcome. Alex didn’t seem remotely pleased that Lydia wouldn’t put up or shut up about such a season-defining story, and I have to think the producers feel the same way. Ten cuidado, Schiavello.
After a roaring season, a bit of a step back for Mrs. Wolfe, who was more her meek(er) S2/3 self this reunion, letting herself be shut down a bit too often. There were also a few odd off-colour remarks in there that didn’t do her any justice (the fat are all slowly dying, South Korea is a backwater dump, etc.). Still, she got a few characteristically charming lines in, and finally showed more of her new spunk by leaping to her feet and shaking her finger in Gina’s face all DON’T YOU *EVER* CALL SOMEONE A PLEB!!!
At the halfway mark I was all ready to declare Gina the winner of this reunion. She had parried away most criticisms against her (if with typically dodgy Liano logic), and had even dropped a few of her more charming bits of humor. I also tend to think that the anointed Fan Faves have a sort of home-field advantage, since they’re given benefit of the doubt; thus Bethenny doing so well last time. So really, all was going well for dear Gina, until…
Oof. Like, don’t get me wrong, people will still take Gina’s side here, but the woman came unglued. Surely her most ardent admirers had to have seen the absurdity of Gina insisting on Sally’s irrelevance even as she bellowed and slit her wrists and set herself aflame on a rocky outcropping o’erhanging the moors. She recovered with a nice concluding moment with Janet, but if Gina thinks she’s settled Bullygate once and for all I think she’s in for a rude surprise.
This might be an unconventional choice, considering that Janet was getting it from all sides, and, yknow, stormed off the set, but I think the gestalt juuust barely worked for her. Any truly clever Housewife knows that the key to saving face is a well-timed Rapology, and Mme. Singer herself couldn’t have done better than Janet’s admissions that sure, I’m a drunk, I fat-shame, oh well I’m not perfect sue me! She managed to wring apologies out of Venus and Gina by reunion’s end, and while the same was never gonna happen with Lydz, Janet did manage to maneuver herself into a situation where Lydia’s infidelities became subtext yet again so.
As I’ve noted before, Jackie has unexpectedly evolved into the grande dame of the cast. Part of that is her own maturity; yes she’s still the same fucking absurd psychic/loud gawping Newcastle kid, but there’s a weird gravitas to her (that comes of speaking to the dead, obvs). I think it’s partly that she’s really developed the art of hanging back till the time’s right to strike. Her bestie Janet, while herself a very able Housewives competitor, tends to spray bullets around indiscriminately until she hits a target; Jackie, on the other hand, keeps her powder dry until she has her prey cornered. Her one-two punch of declaring that *as a Croatian immigrant* she knows Gina couldn’t have waited so long to react to an ethnic slur, and then *jumping couches* to concern troll Gina about her out-of-control behavior was sheer genius. Is it any wonder that she alone was plucked from this bunch to achieve the honor of appearing on I’m a Celeb?
Uh…there’s a new sheriff in town(????)? For all the weakness of much of her personal footage this season, Sally really stepped up in the late-game strategy aspect. Do I think she came onto this show to make a name for herself by torpedoing Gina? Uh no. Do I think she saw an opportunity present itself, and decided to pursue it to the ends of the earth? Oh, of course. “I know a cunt when I see one” was unbelievably rehearsed, even by reunion standards, but was still a brilliant move: Sally got to drop yet another word that she knew would make Gina lose it, yet one that Gina is so famous for deploying herself that she can’t but look delusional in being offended. I’m not entirely convinced of the woman yet, but watching Sally sit back and just laugh her ass off as Gina hyperventilated with steam rising from her head made me think that maybe, just maybe, we have a secret assassin on our hands.
Coming soon: we’re gonna roundtable this shit bbs xx