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Real Housewives

RHOAKL Season 1 Premiere Recap - Model Behavior

Glenn Rowley

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In the latest installment of international Housewives, Bravo is bringing The Real Housewives of Auckland stateside! After causing quite a splash in their native New Zealand late last year, the network will be airing the inaugural season with the Kiwi ladies every Saturday at 12 p.m./11 a.m. central. In the series premiere we meet the six 'Wives at the top of Auckland's elite and the drama that follows them. Read on for a full recap of the tears shed, gossip spilled and personalities that are sure to clash...

Opening taglines are the first way for these new Housewives to make an impression, so let's see what they have to say, shall we? My vote for best tagline far and away goes to Louise Wallace with "I made my money the old-fashioned way...I inherited it." I honestly can't remember the last time a tagline made me laugh so hard. It's cheeky, witty and instantly establishes that Louise is old money in Auckland's high society. Amazing. Quick thoughts on the others: Julia Sloane's "If people are talking behind your back, then you're the one in front" comes across as nothing short of idiotic. While it implies that Julia may be the topic of gossip this season, the tagline misses the mark by making a blatantly obvious point. Maybe the humor is lost on me. Michelle Blanchard has lifted the model archetype straight from Joanna Krupa's lips while I had to do a double take when Angela Stone's first name was not, in fact, "Stone." Gilda Kirkpatrick's stone-cold face and "I never start a fight I can't win" announces she's clearly not one to mess with and Anne Batley Burton is giving me some serious LVP-meets Heather Dubrow-meets Jody Claman of RHOV vibes. The woman clearly loves champagne.

First up, we're introduced to Louise Wallace, who seems to be the actual Lisa Vanderpump of Auckland (sorry Anne). Apparently Louise is famous for hosting New Zealand's version of The Weakest Link, having spent years delivering the line "you are the weakest link, goodbye" that was pervasive in the early 2000s. Now, the former TV host runs her own theater company and lives on the most prestigious street in all of Auckland. It immediately becomes clear that Louise is the 'Wife who will connect the rest of the women - she knows everyone in society and hand out invites for three of the other ladies to attend the prestigious TK Fashion Show with her.

Gilda Kirkpatrick is Louise's neighbor and the Persian princess at the heart of Auckland's social scene. Apparently, Gilda earned her place in society by marrying one of the richest - and oldest - men in Auckland when she was in her early 20s. She eventually divorced her 70-something-year-old husband and has been a socialite ever since. Gilda is also an architect and runs her own advertising/marketing agency, Us&Co, and comes with a serious - though welcome - case of resting bitch face. Do not mess with this Iranian ex-pat. 

Also invited to the fashion show is Julia Sloane, a newly married former model and art collector who unabashedly loves being the center of attention. She was Miss Universe New Zealand back in the 80s but nowadays claims to fill her time with "appointments" for waxing, getting her hair done and getting mani/pedis and Botox. You know, regular appointments like that. At first impression, Julia is coming across as an unexpected combination of RHONY's Alex McCord and RHOM's Adriana de Moura of RHOM. Jury's out on what that may mean, though.

Last to arrive is fashion stylist Angela Stone. Louise describes her to be "like a ship in full sail" when she walks into a room, which I can't decide whether that's a compliment or a brilliant insult. Angela comes bearing gifts for the women in the form of a style guide/coffee table book she wrote, which seems to be a visible turn-off for Gilda. Right away, Angela comes across as a talker; she provides running commentary during the fashion show and talks about herself and her career non-stop as the other ladies look on in bewilderment. The incessant chattering is a second red flag for Gilda, who bluntly advises Angela to talk less about herself when meeting new people if she really wants to become the Oprah of New Zealand. 

The next day, Gilda meets her best friend Michelle Blanchard to rehash the fashion show from the night before. British-born Michelle is a stunning former model-turned-housewife who lives on a country estate filled with horses, chickens, a dog and two kids. Venting to Michelle, Gilda tells her bestie all about Angela and it's clear she's not a fan of the aspiring multi-hyphenate. Hmm...do I sense the first feud of the season brewing?

Last but not least, we meet Anne Batley Burton, an old friend of Julia's known to Auckland as the Champagne Lady. The pint-sized champs importer loves to dance, has been engaged seven times and is clearly giving Heather Dubrow and Charrisse Jackson Jordan a run for their money in the bubbly department. Also, Anne is to cats as LVP is to dogs, complete with a custom-built "pussycat sanctuary" on her property for innumerable stray felines. The Champagne Lady seems quite quirky and over-the-top - in fact, she wastes no time launching into a lecture to Julia about how to properly hold a champagne flute. (But does she know the appropriate temperature at which to store red wine? Actually, probably yes...) The two 'Wives also spend time gossiping about both Angela, whose grating behavior didn't go unnoticed by Julia at the fashion show, and Gilda, whom Anne claims has the reputation of being a gold-digger because of the 40+-year age difference with her ex-husband. 

To get all the 'Wives together for the first time, Julia hosts a birthday luncheon for herself in a private dining room at Ostro. Angela is wary of seeing Gilda again after their dust-up at the fashion show, but Michelle is eager to meet the stylist her best friend has complained about. (Strangely, Michelle has never met Julia before either, but comes to the luncheon as Gilda's plus-one anyway.) However, when Angela reveals that she's still modeling in her 40s, Michelle insults her by asking if she's plus-size. Yikes...talk about getting off on the wrong foot. Former Calvin Klein model Michelle insists she didn't mean to offend, but soon enough Angela bursts into tears (after yet another dig from Gilda) and excuses herself from the table.

Both Gilda and Michelle feign ignorance as to why Angela might be crying, but when she comes back to the table and tells them point blank that the "plus-size model" dig offended her, they refuse to apologize. Naturally, an argument ensues with Angela calling the pair's comments "disgusting" and Michelle firing back "sweetie, with tits like that you're not a normal-size model, get over it." Michelle angrily reveals that Gilda already warned her about Angela, and accuses her of putting on a performance for sympathy with the tears. 

Angela then turns her attention to Gilda, calling her out for her rude behavior and icy demeanor at the TK Fashion Show. When Michelle steps in to defend her friend, Angela tells her point blank to mind her own business, reminding the former model that she wasn't even invited to the fashion show. Gilda, who claims not to be a "very judgmental person," goes off on Angela and her constant, full-toothed smile, and calls her new nemesis "delusional" at the table. The entire exchange is positively dizzying but all Julia wants to know is why no one is paying attention to her at her own birthday party. The premiere ends with Julia blowing out the candles on her cake as side eye is thrown across the table by the bickering 'Wives. As Anne says in her confessional, "who would want a birthday party like that?"

What did you think of the RHOAKL premiere? Are you Team Gilda/Michelle or Team Angela? And why wasn't anyone paying attention to Julia?? Leave your thoughts and opinions - as well as your votes for favorite tagline - in the comments below!

RHOC S12/Ep 2 Recap - It's Either My Way or the Feng Shui

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of Orange County, Lydia and Shannon face off in a completely unexpected feud with Tamra caught in the crosshairs. Plus, we meet Bravo's 100th Housewife Peggy Sulahian! Read on for a full recap of the drama, screaming and unicorns!

Shannon Beador is getting back to what's important to her, and that means it's feng shui time. With the help of her longtime feng shui consultant, Elaine Wright, Shannon's ready to get the good energy flowing in the Beadors' new rental home - she doesn't even have nine lemons in a bowl anymore! However, the feng shui-ing of the house may be easier said than done. According to Elaine, the 'relationship corner' of the house is occupied by a toilet, which may be contributing to some of the negative relationships in Shannon's life. With David being distant and her grudge match with Vicki Gunvalson at an all-time high (or low?), this reasoning of the Asian mystical arts seems to make sense - though Shannon is quickly to point out that maybe certain relationships (ahem, Vicki) are better off going down the drain.

Cut to Vicki, who's packing up Coto Insurance to move to a new office space. Vicki reminisces about the time Shannon's feng shui expert came to consult on her office, but snidely dismisses the entire experience now as a complete crock despite the boom in business that happened once she followed Elaine's recommendations. However, the point here is WHERE IN THE WORLD has Vicki been hiding Linda the office manager for the past 11 seasons. The woman is hilarious and seems to be the only person able to go toe-to-toe with a stressed out OG of the OC. More Linda in every episode, please! 

Motherhood continues to be a trip for Meghan King Edmonds. As she and Jimmy pack up to head back to Orange Country from their vacation home in La Quinta, Calif., she laments that she's constantly sleep deprived now that life is all about "baby, baby, baby, baby." Meghan claims she's excited to see the rest of the 'Wives, but feels constantly torn between her loyalties to the feuding teams of women. Now that she has a baby, Meghan's priorities have changed and drama isn't one of them.

Meanwhile, Lydia McLaughlin and her husband Doug have launched a new magazine called Nobleman Magazine, a mens publication for the modern gentleman. At a photoshoot profiling successful male entrepreneurs, Lydia meets new 'Wife Peggy Sulahian, whose husband Diko is being featured in the magazine. While the husbands work, Peggy opens up to Lydia about her recent breast cancer scare and her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. It's a deep subject for a first meeting, but Lydia responds with nothing but compassion and empathy and the two become fast friends. 

Peggy is a first-generation Armenian who emigrated to the U.S. from Kuwait with her parents when she was just a year old. She and her husband Diko, an immigrant from Beirut, appear to be the quintessential picture of the American Dream. After fleeing the Lebanese Civil War, Diko came to America with virtually nothing and managed to amass his fortune by starting Giovanna Wheels, luxury car accessory company. The Sulahians love their sports cars, and Peggy brags that they own - not rent - an entire fleet of Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Ferraris and Mercedes-Benzes. The couple lives a flashy lifestyle full of cars, diamonds and jewelry and I'm not sure what to think about all of Peggy's showiness and "it sure doesn't suck to be me" mentality...

Kelly Dodd is still committed to working on her tumultuous relationship with husband Michael. Lately, they've been working out together three days a week (that as much couple time as Kelly can handle), and Kelly claims she can relate to the work Shannon and David have put into their marriage. At the same time, Shannon's having a major "cool mom" moment as she sends her oldest daughter Sophie off to Winter Formal, which is much more endearing than watching Kelly and Michael fight over his terrible driving...

Tamra Judge is throwing a unicorn-themed birthday party for her two-year-old granddaughter Ava and while Vicki clearly isn't invited, her daughter Briana and grandsons are going without her. Vicki blames her former bestie for putting a wedge between her and her daughter during the years she was dating Brooks Ayers, but Tamra has since cut ties with Briana and all three women are nervous about the party. However, Briana successfully avoids her mom's one-time best friend, making an appearance and dropping off a gift before quietly ducking out. 

During the party, Tamra also introduces Shannon to Lydia and her pot-smoking, fairy dust-throwing character of a mom, Judy. Shannon hits it off right away with Lydia's mom, but the returning 'Wife puts her on edge when she innocently mentions Vicki's name in conversation. Shannon isn't all that happy to hear that her nemesis was talking about her at dinner with Lydia, and accuses the OG of the OC of being a little "obsessed" with her and Tamra. 

When Lydia tells Tamra she met with Vicki, tension starts swirling. Shannon warns Lydia about the "unconscionable" rumors Vicki has spread about both David and Eddie. Trying to find some common ground, Lydia explains that the other 'Wives are acting the same way Vicki did when they met and this starts sending Shannon into a full-blown emotional tailspin. She's offended at being compared to her mortal enemy and goes as far as to blame Vicki for the 40 pounds she's gained. Shannon's getting visibly fired up (scary angry, perhaps?) and charging deeper into an anti-Vicki tirade when Lydia's husband Doug literally saves the day by interrupting. 

However, the argument isn't over. As Lydia is leaving, Tamra tries to mediate the situation and kicks off round two between the friendship whisperer and Shannon. Lydia claims Shannon started screaming and yelling at her for no reason which, if you watched Season 9, you know is one of Shannon's triggers. She launches into yet another diatribe about how she's nothing like Vicki Gunvalson, but Lydia isn't backing down and once again tries to explain what she meant by the comment. By this point, Shannon is incensed and Lydia declares that, not only are she and the holistic Housewife clearly not going to be friends, but that she has no interest in hanging out with someone who is going to attack her and not let her get a word in edgewise. Shannon angrily huffs that maybe Lydia should talk to her mom, who said she had a "bright light" upon meeting her, before storming away in a rage. However, Lydia gets the last word by pointing out that her mom also said her new frenemy was a "lost soul." And with that, it looks like a new feud is born!

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Are you Team Shannon or Team Lydia? Should Tamra and Briana still be friends? Does feng shui even work? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHOC Season 12 Premiere Recap - The Great Divide

Glenn Rowley

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The First Ladies of Bravo are back for Season 12 of The Real Housewives of Orange County! With a former Housewife returning and wounds from last season still fresh, the divide within the cast is deeper and more painful than ever before. Read on for a full recap on the ladies' lives and feuds...

A new season means a new intro and brand-new taglines! Compared to last season's positively life-giving bunch, this year's one-liners are a bit of a mixed bag, but my vote for best tagline goes to Lydia McLaughlin. Now, this may be a controversial choice but I can't better than "If you can't handle my sparkle, then stay off my rainbow" to describe the fairy-like returning Housewife otherwise known as the "friendship whisperer" of the OC.

Quick thoughts on the others: Shannon Beador has been on a roll with her taglines the past few seasons and this year's clever juxtaposition between organic truth and artificial lies is no exception. Tamra Judge's quip about being "pint-sized, baptized and highly prized" is easily my runner-up for best tagline and most likely to be the overall fan favorite. Meanwhile, new mom Meghan King Edmonds is typically no-nonsense as she accuses her cast mates of acting like "babies," but I'm distracted by being simultaneously in love with her floral-print dress and repulsed by her #MomLife trucker hat. Kelly Dodd's "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you" is nonsensical, which is right on brand for her, while rookie Peggy Sulahian has basically plagiarized RHONY's Kelly Killoren Bensimon's original tagline...And then there's Vicki Gunvalson, who emphatically proclaims "I go big or go home, and I am not going home." Oh Vicki, please never go home. 

The premiere opens on Shannon, who's gained both a new dog and 40 pounds since we last saw her. Archie is a welcome addition; the weight is not. Shannon contributes the weight gain to stress surrounding the allegations Vicki made last season that her husband David was physically abusive. Tearing up in her confessional, Shannon reveals that David is back to being distant with her and as she explains that she's "embarrassed" of her body and doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, it's truly heartbreaking. However, Shannon has always been no holds barred about sharing her life on camera and this new struggle is just another layer of vulnerability and bravery that makes her even more relatable. 

Meanwhile, Vicki's insurance business is booming and she's moving the Coto Insurance offices to a newer, bigger location. Kelly drops by for a visit - within five seconds comparing herself to Donald Trump because of course - for some mean girl banter about the other 'Wives. Neither Kelly nor Vicki have seen or spoken to Tamra or Shannon since the Season 11 reunion, but the hurt feelings on both sides are still fresh. Always classy, Kelly calls Tamra's fitness competition from last year "a race amongst pigs" while Vicki recalls that her one-time bestie spat in her face "like a testosterone psycho" on the bus ride from hell which, I have to admit, made me laugh out loud. Kelly thinks her nemeses owe Vicki an apology, but the OG is confident that they're just mad she and Kelly are the "popular girls." But are they though?

Still on her Christian kick, Tamra heads to bible study at...Lydia's house! It's been four seasons since we last saw Lydia but it turns out that she reached out to Tamra after her baptism and the two have remained in touch. (For those of you who need a refresher on her first season, Lydia was the new Housewife introduced in Season 8 before famously walking away from the show when she was asked back for Season 9.) Obviously the show is completely different from the last time Lydia was a Housewife, so it will be fascinating to see how she fits into the new post-Heather Dubrow landscape. In fact, Vicki and Tamra are the only remaining 'Wives from her previous tenure on the show, and when she finds out that they are now mortal enemies, she's determined to get the former BFFs back together. 

Meghan's entire life has changed since last season. Shortly after the Season 11 reunion, she gave birth to baby Aspen and is now completely focused on being a mom. Apparently, having a new baby has also transformed Meghan's husband Jim, whom she swears up and down is more attentive and engaged than ever before. (Personally, I'll believe it when I see it for more than a five-minute segment in the first episode.) With all of her time and attention on Aspen, Meghan is her own little world and entirely disconnected from the other ladies' drama...so far.

After more than a few scenes catching up on the ladies' lives - Shannon and Tamra shopping for formal dresses with their girls, Kelly contemplating vaginal rejuvenation (no thanks), Vicki visiting Briana (who approves of her new, retired homicide detective boyfriend), Lydia meets Vicki for lunch at Balboa Bay Resort. Upon seeing her for the first time in years, the OG describes the returning 'Wife as "Disneyland all the time" which is absolutely true. Ironically, their lunch spot is the same hotel where Tamra was baptized in Season 10, which is the perfect segue into why Lydia asked Vicki to meet. Lydia brings up the good memories she had with the former besties during Tamra's bachelorette weekend in Mexico during Season 8, and wants to use her powers as the friendship whisperer to help the veteran 'Wives reconcile. However, Vicki breaks down the drama Lydia has missed: Tamra is angry at Vicki for spreading rumors that her husband Eddie is gay, while Vicki's still holding a grudge over Tamra calling her a con artist at the Season 11 reunion. Among a million other things. As Vicki threatens that the "gloves are coming off" if Tamra (and Shannon) continue coming after her, Lydia realizes that she has her work cut out for her if she wants to heal this fractured friendship...

What did you think of the RHOC premiere? Are you happy Lydia is back? Is there any hope for Tamra and Vicki's friendship? Which tagline is your favorite? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHONY S9/Ep 13 Recap - A Bronx Tale

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New York City, Dorinda and Sonja face off over lunch in the Bronx to hilariously epic results. Plus, Bethenny takes all the 'Wives on a ski trip to Vermont, where Tinsley finds herself backed into a corner defending her life choices. Read on for a full recap of all the drama, confrontations and CLIP!-able moments...

And now for something completely different! In an effort to get the 'Wives out of their Upper East Side comfort zones, Bethenny Frankel organizes a lunch at Zero Otto Nove, the best Italian restaurant in the Bronx. (Fun fact from a New Yorker: the real Little Italy is the Bronx's Arthur Ave. Go check it out.) All of the women are invited other than Ramona Singer, for obvious reasons, and while a broad like Dorinda Medley fits right in to the restaurant's authentic wiseguy vibe, poor Tinsley Mortimer sticks out like a sore thumb in her black leggings, Mary Janes and prissy blonde curls. As the wine starts flowing, Bethenny proposes a ski trip to Vermont and all of the ladies jump at the chance, but everyone's thinking the same question: will Ramona be left out of the trip too?

Clearly the "salty broad" vibe of the Bronx starts rubbing off on the women because off-hand mention of Sonja Morgan's ill-fated Prosecco brand, Tipsy Girl, sets off the most hilarious fight of the season. First, Sonja claims that both Ramona and Dorinda wanted to get in on Tipsy Girl before she was approached by her BFF's former business partner, Peter Guimaraes. (You know, the guy Ramona went into business with on AOA Bar and Grill back in Season 7.) Dorinda shuts down this accusation, vehemently denying she ever wanted to be part of Tipsy Girl despite Peter reaching out to her multiple times. Sonja fires back that Dorinda's boyfriend John Mahdessian told Peter that Dorinda wanted to be involved with the brand and has the texts to prove it. Naturally, this sends Dorinda on a delightfully slurry rampage, insisting she would rather "chew [her] left leg off than be part of Tipsy Girl" and that her boyfriend can say whatever he wants because John Mahdessian does not speak for Dorinda Medley. 

As the entire restaurant looks on in a combination of amusement and utter confusion, Sonja pushes the issue just a little too far and sends Dorinda over the edge. Next thing we know, Dorinda's arms are flailing in classic form as she warns her frenemy to "back that s**t up" and invents a brand new way of telling Sonja to "shut the f**k up" in the form of screaming "CLIP! CLIP! CLIP!" across the table before she storms out of the restaurant. I kid you not, this may be the most hilarious thing the gangster Housewife has ever done. As Carole Radziwill points out with glee, "when Dorinda's bad, she's just so good."  

Honestly, nothing in the rest of the episode can come ever remotely close to topping the CLIP! CLIP! moment and we're only 25 percent of the way in. But let's move on, shall we? It's the Italian way. 

  • On their way out of the restaurant, an old Italian man at another table tells Carole Radziwill she looks like Melania Trump, which is just about the worst thing you can say to the diehard Hillary supporter of the group who broke down in tears at her own election party.
  • Tinsley cries through a session with her therapist, admitting she can't sleep and drinks too much red wine to cope with the trauma of the abusive relationship that led to her arrest.
  • Sonja manages to offend Luann D'Agostino over lunch at Sant Andrea Cafe by crudely pointing out that they've both had sex with the Countess's now-husband, Tom D'Agostino. 
  • Ramona manages to score an invite to the ski trip, but not before condescendingly reminding Lu and Sonja that she "only skis Aspen." 

Later, the women head to Stratton, Vermont, where Bethenny has rented a massive log cabin-style ski chalet. Before arriving, Ramona attempts once again to make amends with Bethenny, this time over text, but the Skinnygirl isn't budging. She can be civil, but she's not letting the Singer Stinger back into her life. Meanwhile, Dorinda's the first to arrive after Bethenny and Carole, and hilariously realizes she forgot to stop and pick up her luggage before driving to Vermont (on account of being distracted by pre-trip sex with John). 

As always, the usual race for the best room kicks off once Ramona, Sonja and Tinsley arrive - but not before Ramona refuses to drink any Skinnygirl wine. Ramonja throw a tantrum that Dorinda got the biggest room and after nine seasons, the pair's act is getting tired. It's not cute; it's not funny; it's not a good look. Honestly. However, in a surprising turn, Luann hops on the bandwagon by complaining that no one thought to save her a nicer room since she just got married. Excuse me? Is the Countess serious? Sorry there isn't a honeymoon suite reserved for you, darling.

Over dinner on the first night, Bethenny announces that last season's cancelled Mexico trip is back on! Tequila, here we come! Conversation turns to Tinsley's dating life, which Sonja is quick to criticize by claiming it's not a good look to a boyfriend if you're living in your friend's townhouse. Suddenly, everyone seems to have an opinion about the choices Tinsley and her Lauren Conrad sidebraid are making for her life and the socialite starts feeling ganged up on by her new friends. Without warning, Tins starts to spiral and as her voice gets higher and higher, she demands that the other women "give [her] a goddamn second" to get over the trauma that's haunting her from Palm Beach. Ever observant, Carole points out via confessional that the newbie seems to live in a pattern of being put in situations where she's psychologically infantilized or controlled - first by her ex-boyfriend, now by living with Sonja - and as I watch Tinsley's tableside meltdown I'm starting think she's been through more than any of us possibly fathom.

What did you think of this week's RHONY? Can Dorinda get any more amazing? Is the ski trip off to a good start? Is Tinsley being controlled by Sonja? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHONY S9/Ep 12 Recap - Regency Reunion

Glenn Rowley

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This week, it's all about the real estate on The Real Housewives of New York City. While some of the 'Wives are buying, selling and redecorating, Ramona hosts a party to unveil her newly renovated apartment t