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Spinoffs & Other Shows

Recaps, opinion pieces and analysis of Bravo TV shows including Don't Be Tardy, Manzo'd With Children, Ladies of London, Tour Group, Shahs of Sunset and Southern Charm.

Filtering by Tag: new year's eve

Ladies of London Ssn 2/Ep 5 - Clean Up Your Mess

Glenn Rowley

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Welcome back Londoners! This week, the New Year's Eve fallout continues its downward spiral, the Ladies move forward with building their business empires and Sophie's birthday party brings the women together to argue over who's actually supposed to be fighting with Caroline Stanbury. Ready? Here we go!

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The episode starts with Juliet going to meet Caroline at the Gift Library offices to put an end to their unicorn husband-humping beef. As she drives through London, Juliet via confessional that London is really a small town where the littlest rumor (like...say...Caroline Stanbury threatened to gun down your family in the middle of the street) can get blown out proportion before you ever have a chance to do damage control. Once she arrives at Gift Library, Juliet promptly owns up to venting about what Caroline said, but blames Julie for spreading the gossip to Annabelle and making the story even bigger. Caroline can't believe Juliet would tell Julie - a.k.a. the "village f***ing foghorn" something so salacious and likens her friend to Bam Bam for managing to create chaos wherever she goes. Fix this, Caroline says. The last things she wants is for this to be an issue at Sophie's upcoming birthday party. She has enough to deal with without being pulled into more gossip. 

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Across town, Marissa and Matt are on a date at Cambio del Tercio. Because of Matt's connections as a restauranteur, the Hermers always manage to get the chef's table and tonight is no exception. Over dinner, conversation turns inevitably to Top Dog - Marissa is worried the new project will take her away from being able to do things like bath time and picking up her kids from school. She points out in her interview that the term "working mom" is an oxymoron of the highest degree because being a mom is a full-time job. Matt reassures her that he's always there to help, and if things go horribly wrong the kids will still be there and the house too...probably. I love seeing Marissa and Matt's relationship on screen. They're both so supportive of each other, it's nice to see a truly equal marriage on TV. 

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The next day, Julie and Annabelle meet at some sort of health food juice bar to rehash the drama with Juliet from the week before. Lady Hinchingbrooke hasn't spoken to Juliet since she stormed out after their lunch and left Julie wondering what she did wrong. After all, Juliet was the one who told her what Caroline said in the first place, she merely came to the lunch assuming they would continue the conversation. Via confessional, Annabelle points out that Juliet should've gone directly to Caroline and reiterates that the American is "absolutely" lying about everything that went down. Annabelle thinks it's crazy that the two Julie(t)s are now fighting with each other instead of each confronting Caroline. Yes, Caroline can be cruel, but she has to know it's not OK to behave this way with the other Ladies. The thought of confronting Caroline terrifies Julie, who doesn't want to get on the queen bee's bad side. Annabelle rightfully advises her that nothing get solved without directly confronting the problem. Plus, if Julie's going to talk about it to other people, she might as well say it to Caroline's face, right? Stand up for yourself and take control, Montagu!

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Meanwhile, Caroline Fleming is tra-la-la-ing around her flat when her therapist (yet another Caroline) drops by for a house call. The Baroness thinks therapy is "incredible," calling a good therapist one of life's greatest gifts. However, her approach to therapy is kind of hilarious. Poor Caroline #3 can't seem to get a word in edgewise as Caroline #2 talks over her and goes off on a tangent about the younger man in her life. The Baroness is a cougar! She won't reveal the identity of her new mystery man, but assures us that she's feeling like a giddy 16-year-old again. The therapist leaves having said all of two words, but Caroline Fleming sees her out by saying she's so glad she could get input from others and make sure her life's journey is on the right path. I find this quirky Dutch baroness mightily entertaining.

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Caroline Stanbury and her sister-in-law Sophie meet up at the Good Life Eatery to discuss the New Year's Eve nonsense and Sophie's upcoming birthday party. Caroline doesn't even want to give the drama with Julie any more air and Sophie agrees, saying the American aristocrat made a mountain out of a molehill. Sophie sent the invites out for her party and the responses from the Ladies were a bit mixed. While Marissa sent back a thoughtful note, Juliet rather brusquely asked where the party would be held and that was it. Caroline explains that Juliet doesn't exactly have a relaxed, thoughtful personality - you never quite know what will set her off. If the same type of drama continues with Juliet, Caroline promises that she'll be cut out of her life. The queen bee is fighting every day in the office to keep her business afloat, she's not about to fight in her personal life as well. And speaking of Gift Library, things are continuing to go poorly as Caroline realizes she just can't do it all by herself. 

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While Caroline's business continues its downward spiral, Marissa and Julie's new ventures are headed toward launch. To bring her California dream to life, Marissa enlists the help of branding expert Damien Mould, who's worked with everyone from David Beckham and Warner Music to Nike and Louis Vuitton. Meanwhile, Julie is meeting with potential investors to take JUB to the next level and help save Mapperton. While presenting to the roundtable of potential investors (is this in a house?), Julie is nervous but conveys her passion for the product and excitement to continue growing it. In the end, the investors decide to go into business with her and she gets the $150,000 of funding she needs to kickstart her business. Go Marissa! Go Julie! I love seeing the Americans build their empires and making names for themselves in London.

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The night of Sophie's fiesta-themed party arrives and the restaurant is decorated with plenty of skulls straight out of Dia de los Muertos. Annabelle and Julie are taking a cab together and on the way, Annabelle notices that her friend seems to be bringing two separate gifts to the party. Somewhat sheepishly, Julie admits that rather than take Annabelle's advice to stand up for herself, she's decided to give Caroline an olive branch in the form of an "I'm sorry" present. In her confessional, Julie defends her decision by claiming that she's just not wired to be confrontational - she would rather be Caroline Stanbury's friend than her enemy. Annabelle is baffled by Julie's decision to bring a gift. She's still sure that the only way to deal with Caroline is to stand up to her, but Julie's made up her mind. However, the party is the first time Julie has seen Caroline since New Year's Eve and as she she walks into the party, her confidence evaporates and she's left shaking in her heels.

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Almost immediately after the hellos and air kisses, Julie pulls Caroline aside to give her the "I'm sorry" gift, which turns out to be one of her Kale brand t-shirts. Caroline accepts the gift graciously and assures an overeager Julie that things are fine between them. It's clear all she wants to do at this point is move on from the whole drama. Across the room, Juliet can't believe what she's seeing. Wasn't Julie just telling her the day before to confront Caroline and take her on? Giving her a gift at someone else's birthday party isn't exactly practicing what you preach. The party turns out to be a wild affair complete with a sex toy-filled unicorn piñata courtesy of Caroline. As Sophie stabs the unicorn with a knife (WHAT?), it breaks open, sending ball gags, nipple clamps and other mysterious items around the room. Marissa in particular is more than happy to use the nipple clamps on Juliet's mouth - do they come with glue?

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In the middle of the revelry, Juliet approaches Julie from behind and jokingly pretends to choke her. Naturally, an argument ensues, though the flow of conversation is awfully difficult to follow. Juliet is angry at Julie for revealing what Caroline said to Annabelle, but Julie insists she was merely trying to be a good friend. However, Juliet accuses Julie of taking her own issues with Caroline and projecting them onto her. From the sidelines, Annabelle can't believe that the two are fighting over fighting with Caroline while the queen bee "slithers away scot free." For her part, Julie thinks Juliet has gone crazy, spinning the story to avoid Caroline's unenviable wrath and turning it on her to get away with it.

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So who is turning what on whom? Both? I'm confused and agree with Annabelle - when people reach this level of insanity, sometimes you just have to let them find their own way out of the padded cell. Juliet eventually shuts down the conversation, saying she doesn't want to cause a scene at Sophie's birthday party (too late!). Julie retreats back to the table, telling an onlooking Marissa and Caroline Fleming that she couldn't get a word in edgewise and calling Juliet's behavior "unkind." Cheers to Sophie's birthday! Who wants cake?

Ladies of London Ssn 2/Ep 4 - One Royal Hangover

Glenn Rowley

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Last week ended with an ominous "To be continued..." card and this week in London, we pick up right where we left off on New Year's Eve. With the women still in animal onesies, #HumpGate begins to escalate. In the blue corner we have Juliet, angry at Caroline for straddling her husband in her bright blue unicorn outfit. In the red corner, we have the Stanbury sisters(-in-law) - Caroline thinking she did absolutely nothing wrong and Sophie backing her up, albeit a bit tipsily. Feeling ganged up on when she's the one who has the right to be upset, Juliet retreats by kicking all the women out of her room to continue the party elsewhere. Annabelle's also calling it a night - she wanted to start 2015 off on a different foot than by watching her friends argue about humping unicorns.

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With the party relocated to another suite, Caroline's now free to vent her frustrations about Juliet to anyone who will listen. The queen bee doesn't understand what all the fuss had to be about, she was just having some fun. It's New Year's Eve! However, with so many flare-ups focused on her - first Julie, now Juliet - Caroline's starting to wonder if maybe she's in the wrong. Caroline Fleming, however, is quick to defend her friend by saying that when there's drama, it belongs to the person who created it, which in her mind is everyone but Caroline. And just when we thought it was over, Juliet's back in the ring. After giving it a little more thought, Juliet wants to try to fix this issue quickly. So she comes back to the party, this time in a bathrobe and a "Happy New Year" crown. However, "fixing" the mess actually turns out to be a code word for more arguing: Caroline wants to continue her evening without Juliet nagging in her ear, but Juliet's not done talking. Watching round two from the sidelines, Marissa explains via confessional that she can see Juliet's blood level start to rise. There needs to be some serious kissing and making up before she loses it and the fireworks really start. 

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The Stanburys once again manage to turn the entire situation around on Juliet, with Sophie insisting that Gregor actually loved being straddled by a unicorn. In fact, he told her it was the highlight of his night. Juliet goes on the attack, pointing finger and accusing Sophie of instigating the argument further and further. However, Sophie insists that Juliet's the one overreacting. It was a joke! Doing her very best Taylor Armstrong impression, Marissa shouts that she's had enough, and tells all warring women to zip it. The fight needs to be done. Juliet retreats once again, saying she doesn't want to hear another word about the unicorn who humped her husband. Happy New Year?

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The next morning, pretty much everyone is suffering through a massive hangover with the exception of Julie, who's teaching a packed yoga class at 11 in the morning. As she arrives back at the hotel, the rest of the women are dragging themselves out of bed, with Marissa announcing that she feels as though she's been hit by a double-decker bus. Marissa, Julie and Annabelle all congregate in Annabelle's suite, where conversation turns to whether or not Julie feels she made up with Caroline over the whole yoga teacher dig. Julie admits to having HSP - highly sensitive personality and was hurt, but Caroline offered what she saw as a sincere apology so it's all good. Cut to Caroline - still in her unicorn onesie - relaying the entire night's events to Luke the sexy makeup artist and saying that on second thought, she's not sorry at all because she still doesn't understand what she did wrong. In fact, she finds Julie's entire reaction "quite pathetic."

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Eventually, the ladies dust off last night's confetti and meet for brunch in Juliet's suite. Caroline is confused why Juliet is acting like everything is perfect between them, but Juliet says in her interview that she felt she spent much of the night fighting for no reason and is ready to put the whole thing in the past. However, Caroline can't resist rehashing the drama by proclaiming that she was a "bull in the china shop" and couldn't seem to do anything right. Julie thinks they should all blame it on the alcohol and says she appreciates Caroline's apology, but the queen bee shocks everyone by explaining that she retracted the apology after thinking about it some more. Actually, she's not sorry. Julie questions in her interview whether Caroline even thinks she's worthy of an apology while Annabelle calls the move "ungracious" and calls Caroline out. If you say you're sorry, you have to actually mean it. Who does that? Fed up, Annabelle bows out of brunch, refusing to stick around while Caroline disrespects her BFF.

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A couple days later, the Carolines meet up for some quality time to go dog-walking. After all the chaos of New Year's Eve, they have some serious catching up to do. Caroline S. tells the Baroness that Juliet has been driving her insane, calling incessantly and getting on her last nerve. She finds the entire thing pathetic (seems to be her word of choice for the night) and thinks Juliet was looking for a fight that night. The drama gets put on pause, though, when Caroline S. sees what's in the Sunday Times business section: Marissa's face with a giant hot dog for a smile promoting the launch of Top Dog, her new American street food restaurant. Caroline finds the article laughable; she's been in the paper plenty of times, but would never be caught dead with a weiner in her mouth. Much like Caprice's baby/surrogate story last season, word spreads among the ladies like wildfire, with Annabelle calling Marissa the "queen of PR" even if the image is slightly phallic. Meanwhile, Marissa and her husband Matt are celebrating the good press. Top Dog is Marissa's opportunity to step out from Matt's shadow to open a restaurant all on her own merits. 

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While Marissa's on her way up in the business world, Caroline's still fighting to stay at the top. Venting to Luke the sexy makeup artist, she explains that every day at Gift Library is unbelievably stressful. The year couldn't have started out worse, Gift Library has lost major deals and Caroline is quickly running out of funding. The best case scenario is for a management team to swoop in and help Caroline manage everything. Worst case? Everything has to be liquidated. She continues unloading her frustrations later that night on a date at Piccolino with her husband Cem. Caroline's working "bloody hard" but at what cost? It feels like everything she's built is now slipping through her fingers. Oh, and by the way she also may have told Juliet over the phone that if she kept bothering her, Caroline would wipe the floor with her. Just your average threat between friends...

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After a heartwarming scene of Caroline Fleming's trip home to Denmark to visit her adorable grandmother, the episode ends with Julie, Juliet and Annabelle meeting for lunch. Over a feast of french fries, kale and zucchini linguine, the three rehash their New Year's Eve issues with Caroline Stanbury. Well, two of them do. Annabelle hilariously claims Caroline plays the "North Korean card a bit" and Julie still can't believe the audacity at Caroline's retracted apology to her, but Juliet dismisses the entire unicorn humping debacle as some harmless fun. What? Annabelle and Julie are confused - this isn't the tune Juliet was singing when she called Julie and told her how Caroline had threatened to ruin her reputation in all of London society. For some reason, Juliet gets angry with Lady Hinchingbrooke for telling Annabelle what Caroline said, but Julie thought she was just being a supportive friend. Further, Julie doesn't understand why Juliet isn't telling the truth about what happened with Caroline, saying it seems she's more concerned about her relationship with the queen bee than anything else.

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In her confessional, Annabelle accurately surmises that Juliet is falling back in line with all of Caroline's other pawns and she can understand why. Being Caroline Stanbury's pawn is the easier and safer place to be. Juliet defensively says she's allowed to deal with issues without bringing the entire group into it, but Annabelle calls her out for saying one thing earlier and a completely different story now. Is Juliet lying? Annabelle absolutely thinks so. Julie jumps on, saying it almost seems like Juliet is afraid of Caroline's wrath and being on her bad side. However, Juliet's not changing the party line. She doesn't need Annabelle and Julie's advice about how to deal with Caroline Stanbury, thank you very much.

Ladies of London Ssn 2/Ep 3 - We Are All One-sie

Glenn Rowley

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This week's episode opens with a montage of the Ladies celebrating Christmas: the Stanburys at home, Annabelle and her adorable grandmother putting ornaments on the tree, Marissa helping her kids write a note to Santa Claus and Juliet spending the holiday in a bikini soaking up the Mexican sunshine. Feliz Navidad! We pick up three days later as Annabelle meets Julie for coffee at the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. After ordering an Americano with hot milk and sugar, she greets Lady Hinchingbrooke with a giant kiss on the lips. Over coffee, the pair discuss their respective business ventures. Annabelle has brought a rough draft of the first book in her new children's series, The Me Me Me's. Annabelle explains in her confessional that while she grew up in a wealthy, aristocratic family, school was difficult for her. The book series she's writing is based on her experiences as a child with the goal of helping kids understand their emotions better. Julie, meanwhile, is trying to find investors for JUB, her new line of superfood balls. When she's not teaching yoga, Lady Hinchingbrooke is in her kitchen making balls and delivering them to stores around London via bicycle. Maintaining an old estate like Mapperton is an incredibly expensive undertaking and while teaching yoga won't save the state, maybe Julie's Incredible Balls will.

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Annabelle and Julie aren't the only Ladies with business on the brain. In another part of the city, Marissa and her husband Matt are checking out the space for her new restaurant. The Hermers run multiple restaurants and clubs in London together including Boujis, Bumpkin and Eclipse, but Marissa is ready to put her name on a restaurant that's all her own. So, she's opening a restaurant called Top Dog, featuring organic hot dogs, milk shakes and fries. I'm not quite sure what makes a hot dog organic, but Marissa is the London authority on American street food, not me. The space for the restaurant however is far from ready. The entire venue needs to be gutted, particularly the basement that smells so badly it sends Marissa running for the hills. The space for Top Dog can only go up from here...

After her coffee date with Annabelle, Julie meets Juliet for a private yoga lesson. As they're in downward-facing dog, conversation turns to plans for New Year's Eve, which is just a few days away. Thinking it's a good time to get all the Ladies together, Juliet's throwing a party at the exclusive at the Hotel Café Royal on Piccadilly Circus. Juliet decides to invite everyone to the festivities, including frenemy Marissa. After all, it's the nice thing to do.

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Caroline Stansbury is still dealing with problems at Gift Library. The Christmas season didn't go as well as hoped for the business and Caroline's now in desperate need of funding. Her assistant Rania points out that Caroline comes across as though she doesn't care about the company's dire straits due to her icy demeanor. The queen bee assures her that she cares very much, but you don't build a company this size by coming across as weak. In her confessional, Caroline says she's constantly defying the expectations of people in London society who want to see her fail. Their perception is that she was merely handed Gift Library, which couldn't be further from the truth. Caroline Stansbury is a "hard a** bi***" who built her company up from zero. 

Being such a strong, independent businesswoman, Julie has asked Caroline to take a look at her business plan for JUB before she pitches it to potential investors. Before the meeting, Julie explains via confessional that she's mostly looking for Caroline to give her a shot of self-confidence. Cut to Caroline laughing hysterically with her makeup artist Luke over the name of Julie's "big fat balls." This may not go exactly the way Lady Hinchingbrooke is hoping. In her own interview, Caroline insists that with everything going on in her own business, she doesn't have time to play the role of full-time mentor but is happy to meet with Julie "quickly" and give her some advice. 

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Over soup and red velvet cake, Julie explains that she's soon meeting with two potential investors who will give her a final yes or no about whether they'll fund JUB. Caroline thinks Julie looks like a gibbering wreck and questions how she'll be using the $150,000 investment she's asking for. Julie explains that a big chunk of that money will go towards finding a managing director since she's the brand. Caroline jokingly points out that Julie certainly can't be the brains as well as the brand, but the joke lands flat. After looking at the business plan, Caroline says she would be impressed by it as an investor but counsels Julie to remember that once she gives her company away, there's no getting it back. 

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New Year's Eve arrives and the Ladies gather at the Hotel Café Royal to get ready for Juliet's party. Caroline is hoping the evening will be a welcome distraction from the turmoil with Gift Library and plans to behave appallingly. That's what a party is for, right? Dressed to the nines, the women arrive for dinner with their various husbands and dates in tow. I'm particularly in love with the gold lamé top of Marissa's dress. The table is stunning and sparkling as Juliet makes a toast to a wonderful dinner. Juliet knows everyone is expecting more fireworks between her and Marissa, especially after a few glasses of champagne, but insists she's not interested in having any type of emotional episode with her BFF-turned-F. Besides, Juliet has much more important things to do during dinner. Namely, sucking up to Caroline Fleming. It looks like Juliet's found another, higher social ladder to start climbing. Across the table, Caroline S. watches the conversation with a look of mild amusement. In her interview, she points out that Juliet is still trying to make it in the London social scene, and where Caroline knows the owner, the American knows the busboy. She finds it funny to watch Juliet cling to the other Caroline, who's completely uninterested in the London social scene. Juliet is barking up the wrong tree.

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As dinner commences, Julie invites the women to join her for early-morning yoga the following morning, prompting Caroline Fleming to dare her to do a headstand. Lady Hinchingbrooke takes dares very seriously, and next thing we know shoes are off and the two are doing headstands at the end of the table. Caroline S. can't believe her eyes - this is not appropriate behavior at a formal dinner. She throws out a joke that the yoga teacher is taking longer to get into a headstand than the Baroness. Julie defensively tries to explain that it's best practice in yoga to go into a headstand as slowly as possible, but Caroline's already moved on to another topic. 

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Her feelings hurt, Julie disappears from the table and Annabelle finds her bawling in the next room over what she saw as Caroline's "massive dig" at her. It seems like Lady Hinchingbrooke can simply do nothing write in the eyes of the queen bee. Annabelle fetches Caroline from the dinner table, prodding her to apologize for her insensitive joke. Caroline thinks Julie is crying as if the Titanic has taken her children and doesn't understand what the big deal is - to her the joke was a throwaway comment.  She somewhat insincerely apologizes, wanting to move past the drama as quickly as possible. Annabelle understands Julie's feelings. At heart, she's a Chicago girl who's come to England, married into a very old, prestigious title and she feels insecure about it. However, Caroline Fleming takes the other Caroline's side, saying she made the comment to be funny and insisting there was nothing malicious about it. For their part, Juliet and Marissa are just happy they're not the ones arguing for once. As the Ladies watch the countdown and ensuing fireworks show from the hotel balcony, Caroline says Julie should just take her own advice and namaste through it. (I have to say, Caroline's one-liners were on fire tonight. The woman makes me laugh out loud.)

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The party continues inside with the cocktails flowing into the night. At 1 a.m., Caroline S. comes into the room in a unicorn onesie and surprises the women with onesies of their own. Julie's a tiger, Marissa's a penguin, Juliet's a koala (I swear it's a kangaroo), Caroline Fleming is a cow and Sophie is something pink. (Side note - did Annabelle duck out of the festivities before the onesie parade? I didn't see her in a costume...) Caroline Fleming thinks the onesies are perfect for the occasion, they'll keep the rock-and-roll teenage behavior going that's allowed on New Year's Eve. This is where things quickly take a weird turn. As Marissa and Juliet are in the bathroom admiring their costumes, Caroline S. is out on the couch straddling Juliet's husband Gregor. Caroline's loving the naughty attention, Julie's snapping pictures and Gregor appears to be having a somewhat-embarrassed good time with the blonde socialite over his lap. Juliet, however, doesn't see the fun in the situation when she finds out. Astonished at her friend's behavior, she tries telling Caroline she crossed a major line by straddling her husband. The Brit insists he loved it, setting Juliet off as she angrily throws her koala hat at Caroline. Just as the drama starts escalating...cut to black. We have our first "To be continued..." card of the season.