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Real Housewives

RHOMelbourne Season 3 Premiere - Join The Club

Glenn Rowley

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Months after airing in its native Australia, The Real Housewives of Melbourne has finally arrived stateside for a scintillating Season 3! This is the very first international installment in the Housewives franchise I've covered on THG, and I'm pretty thrilled about it. In the season premiere, we catch up with each of the ladies' lives and meet the newest Housewife (who seems to have joined the show with a major vendetta against one of the OGs). From book club to baking days, the drama kicks off from the get-go, so buckle up because it's going to be quite the ride. Read on for my full recap of the premiere...

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First up, let's talk opening taglines and the intro. I'm loving the all-black theme this season, especially compared to last year's white and gold looks. My vote for best tagline goes to Janet Roach for "I'm not everyone's drink of choice, but I'm my cup of tea." That being said, queen bee Gina Liano comes in a close second with "Persistence is king, and I'm the queen of it." Quick thoughts on the rest of the bunch: Chyka Keebaugh is as sunny and fashionable as ever while Lydia Schiavello addresses the gossip of her alleged affair with cricket star Shane Warne head-on with hers. I definitely appreciate Gamble Breaux's reference to her "Wolfe" pack, though I'm a bit surprised she didn't tie her wedding storyline in at all. Jackie Gillies is far and away one of my favorite 'Wives but her tagline this season seems incredibly generic, and I'm disappointed she didn't keep her trademark "shine" going for a third consecutive year. Pettifleur Berenger's is completely nonsensical = I mean, is someone going to question that she's in great shape?. It would easily be the worst of the bunch if it weren't for newbie Susie McLean, who commits the unpardonable sin of recycling Kathy Wakile's Season 5 tagline from RHONJ literally word for word. Seriously? How did no one at Arena (the Australian equivalent of Bravo) not catch that?

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The premiere kicks off with Jackie and Janet arriving at Chyka's house for book club. Don't worry, it's not the type of book club you're thinking - all the women do at Chyka's book club is sit around talking about their lives and gossiping about other women. Chyka's also invited new Housewife Susie to start integrating her into the group. Susie has connections with many of the other women, having known Chyka for almost 20 years and both Janet and Gina for over 10. The Housewife she has the longest history with, though, is Lydia - whom she's known since they were both teenagers. Yet almost right away, the newbie alludes that she and the OG have basically been longstanding frenemies rather than BFFs.

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This news is more than fine with Janet, who's not on great terms with Lydia either ever since the two got into a Twitter feud during the off-season. (Apparently her fellow Housewife called her an "old grandma" and she fired back, calling her co-star a "Lydiot." Just hilarious.) Janet also has her own tea to spill to the book club: Shane Warne, legendary cricketer and Lydia's close friend, asked her on a date and when she claimed to be busy, he turned the invitation into a late-night booty call. Once she learned of this development, Lydia was less than pleased, which made Janet wonder if there was any weight to the rumors around Melbourne that her relationship with Shane was more than "just close friends." Hmm...

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Speaking of Lydia, she's across town meeting Pettifleur (who's decked out in Chanel, lace and the highest of high ponytails) for lunch at Botherambo. Pettifleur informs us that out of all the ladies Lydia is her closest friend, which seems a bit random and appropriately full of foreshadowing. After Lydia fills Pettifleur in on her recent trip to London, which included rumor-fueling stop at a charity gala for the Shane Warne Foundation, the latter is practically chomping at the bit to start trash-talking her nemesis Gamble. Pettifleur is still smarting from last season's controversy over her book, Switch the Bitch, and blames Gamble for the ensuing legal mess that resulted in her receiving a legal letter that basically accused her of copyright infringement and plagiarism. Now Pettifleur is on the offensive, gleefully informing Lydia of a rumor that Gamble allegedly met her now-fiancé Rick on a dating site called SugarDaddy.com. Scandalous! Shockingly, Lydia doesn't take Pettifleur's bait, instead defending Gamble and poorly paraphrasing to Pettifleur the old adage that two wrongs don't always make a right. Immediately, Pettifleur is petulantly bothered that her so-called closest friend isn't feeding into her trash-talking and ends the conversation by calling Gamble a "black widow" (meaning she mates to kill). Ouch.

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Naturally, Lydia runs right to Gamble with the gauntlet of gossip and name-calling Pettifleur just threw down about her, using the excuse that she's trying to bridge the chasm between the two sophomore 'Wives. Busy planning her upcoming wedding, Gamble is both taken aback that Lydia would even have an issue with Pettifleur - whom she points out adores the "Lydiot" - and completely blindsided by this mud-slinging. First of all, she insists she met Rick on eHarmony and that she was looking for a life partner, not a sugar daddy. Secondly, she doesn't understand why Pettifleur seems to have it out for her at every turn. A black widow? Really? Gamble obviously doesn't take kindly to such a low blow, and vows to confront her nemesis face-to-face about what's being said behind her back. Don't mess with Gamble's Wolfe pup or you can bet the claws are going to come out...

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Thankfully, newcomer Susie has planned just the venue for all these feuds to finally come to a head: a baking day! This isn't exactly the kind of activity you'd think the Aussie 'Wives would excel at, but at first things actually seem light and fun as they don their aprons and the scones and cakes make it into the oven. However, once Lydia and Pettifleur make their respective grand entrances, tension starts filling Susie's kitchen like the smoke off a burnt pavlova. While Pettifleur pulls Gina (her latest ally) aside to recount her sob story about kicking her son out of the house, Susie presses Lydia for details about her relationship with Shane Warne. Once again, Lydia swiftly denies the rumor as idle gossip, even when Susie asks her point blank if the two are "bonking." According to Lydia, she and Shane are nothing more than good friends (she's also an ambassador for his foundation), though Susie confirms in her confessional that she's "absolutely" sure Lydia is interested in the cricketer/philanthropist romantically. 

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Conversation turns to Lydia's issues with Janet, and the two decide to address the Lydiot-shaped elephant in the room with Jackie and Pettifleur backing them up for moral support. The 'Wives exchange barbs over who called whom a "dirty cow" but considering that we didn't even see this social media war take place, I'm less than riveted. No one can seem to conclude which Housewife was actually in the wrong by attacking first and nothing gets resolved. Eventually, Gamble joins the conversation and calls out Pettifleur for trashing her behind her back. When it's revealed that Lydia told Gamble about the "black widow" comment, Pettifleur becomes enraged, seeing it somehow as a major betrayal on Lydia's part. Lydia insists she's merely trying to mediate the situation, but now Pettifleur wants nothing to do with her supposed bestie. (For the record, I really struggle to see why Petti has any right to feel backstabbed when she was the one spreading nasty gossip, but maybe that's neither here nor there.) 

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Gamble feels that Lydia was justified in telling her what Pettifleur was saying about her, and now she's fired up. Calling Pettifleur "deranged" for thinking she's to blame for her book's legal problems, Gamble stands by her opinion that her nemesis ripped off the title of her "bloody scribbling of a book" from American reality star Omarosa Manigault. However, when she can't get a word in, Pettifleur explodes, screaming "just listen to me SugarDaddy.com," which promptly sends the room into a stunned silence. Janet wisely points out that families and partners should be off-limits when it comes to Housewives feuds and Gamble loses it, calling Pettifleur a "lying piece of s--t" and threatening to sue her "to the end of the f---ing Earth" for slander and defamation if she's not careful. With one final "go f--k yourself Pettifleur!", Gamble storms out of the room and the premiere ends with the rest of the 'Wives stunned.

What did you think of the premiere? Are you Team Gamble or Team Pettifleur? Was Lydia right in telling Gamble what Pettifleur said? Is Janet to blame for the Twitter war? Let me know in the comments...