‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Season Two, Episode 15

This is the new year and the women at RHOSLC feel no different. Okay, to be clear, there’s still a lot on the show in 2021, but I’m representing your loyal RHOSLC recapper Olivia Crandall this week, and I couldn’t make a Death Cab for Cutie reference when I got the chance. I also paraphrase these texts for a reason: The latest part of Bravo’s true crime docudrama shows the women in a frustrating queue, turning their wheels between blow-ups that do little to shake up the cast dynamic. Even the fights are starting to feel flat, as Olivia noted in her recap last week. You almost feel sorry for the prosecutors who are forced to ponder these episodes in preparation for the Jen Shah trial.

We’re still grappling with the aftermath of the pho lunch Jennie unwraps for Duy along with bags of Cheesecake Factory takeaway that she brought to eat on a customization table. (I’ve never had more dealings with a housewife than declaring that she only got dessert for herself, but he can get some of it.) While Jennie is obviously frustrated that her attempts to make peace are not Lasted, it bothers her more that Mary compliments Jennie’s “slanted eyes”. She articulates why she is offended Duy and in her confessional, presumably to forestall the reactions of the Bravo viewers, who like to explain why something racist is not really racist.

Speaking of which, when Mary and Meredith reheat Pho lunch at their own lunch, Mary takes on an exaggerated accent to mimic Jennie. At this point, the production has enough material to put together a complete racism package for the reunion – but let’s hope they don’t burden Jennie with that. On the one hand, it’s good that the show doesn’t want to sweep that under the rug (cough, below deck, cough). On the flip side, it’s sickening to see another AAPI housewife turn racially insensitive comments into educational moments after seeing Tiffany Moon and Crystal Kung Minkoff at RHOD and RHOBH, respectively.

For what it’s worth, Meredith Mary says “no characters please,” which is a way of saying, “Hey, imitating Jennie’s accent is insulting.” But she’s quick to complain about Lisa, saying it was “triggering” to see her best friend hug Jen after what she did to Jen Brooks. As a parent, Meredith has the right to continue to hold grudges, of course, but we’re 15 episodes in the season and we’re still sticking to Jen’s behavior on social media, despite Jen now being accused of far worse real-world crimes. It’s also hard to take the “calling Brooks a ‘privileged twink” problem seriously after Mary spat the shit out – like comparing Jen to a “Mexican thug” for example.

Elsewhere, Whitney is preparing for her Wild Rose Beauty launch party, which is the excuse for a step and repetition in this episode. Heather arrives to help pack gift bags and make her cousin feel a little better about rebranding Justin and her $ 300,000 savings. (It’s worth noting that Heather wears the Gyles & George’s “I’M A LUXURY” sweater because she’s the people’s housewife.) Whitney brings up Mary’s comment suggesting that the indictment against Jen may have been divine retribution for the crackdown on Mary is. It seems pretty obvious that this has more to do with Mary’s belief that she has Jesus on the speed dial than with any prior knowledge of Jen’s alleged crimes, but Whitney and Heather manage to ditch the theory that Mary did the FBI gave a tip. And sure, it’s possible Meredith’s PI uncovered something about Jen and told Meredith, who told Mary, who let the FBI know that Jen would be at the Beauty Lab – but it’s also possible Mary is God. Both scenarios seem unlikely.

Regardless of who told the authorities what, Jen is determined to be canonized before the trial. Her “Jen Is Shah-mazing” press tour continues in this episode, with Jen putting together hygiene kits for those in need while lamenting that the downsizing really hurts all of the lost souls living under Jen’s roof. Look, if I face a serious jail sentence and I decide to keep making a reality show – almost certainly against the will of my $ 2 million attorneys – I would also take the opportunity for shamelessly self-glorifying PR. But Jens rebranding from Chaos Agent to Benevolent Ghost is a bigger rise than Whitney’s move from Iris + Beau to Wild Rose Beauty. It’s a bit uncomfortable when Jen’s mother shows up on camera just to say things like, “I believe in you and I know you’re innocent.” I winced when she revealed that she was going to cash out her retirement accounts to fund Jen’s legal defense.

But let’s get Jens legal issues out of his head – it’s time for the Wild Rose Launch Party. Everyone is here, including Angie, who will not accept the “Friend Of” curse of appearing for three episodes and then never hearing anything again. Jennie is ready to confront Mary about the “slanted eyes” comment (and return those really fancy boots). Mary is not aware of the shitstorm and is very fixated on the lack of a wardrobe. And Meredith is furious that she was once again caught off guard by an invitation to an event that Jen was attending because she apparently can’t remember filming a reality show. “It feels like I’m being forced,” complains Meredith, and yes, that’s called a contractual obligation.

Jennie doesn’t waste time dragging everyone into a separate room to confront Mary with an attending audience. (There is certainly a more organic way of staging this, but we can forgive some sloppiness in the first season.) When Jennie shares that she was offended that Mary complimented her “slanted eyes,” Mary seems genuinely baffled. “I love slanted eyes,” she says. Somehow the conversation gets worse from then on. When looking for support, Mary asks if anyone else knew the comment was offensive. In their confessions, women are largely ready to call it racist. At the moment we only get one really pathetic response from Meredith “Twink Is a Slur” Marks: “I don’t know if it would be offensive or not. I just wouldn’t say it. “

It’s just Whitney refusing to let go of the whole racism thing – and while it’s not clear if it’s from an Allied place or the shit, she gets credit for having returned. (Bonus points for “I like my friends the way I like my skin care: non-toxic and cruelty free.”) In light of the opening, Lisa finally makes the remark “Mexican thugs” which Mary can’t remember saying. (Roll the tape!) But before we can really open up these deeply disturbing remarks, Meredith takes a color-blind perspective and says that the group’s bad behavior “goes way beyond prejudice,” and the real problem is that all two Jen have faces. Meredith harnessing Mary to her cart has just been confusing so far, but it is really annoying to see her repeatedly turn away from very legitimate concerns about a pattern of racially insensitive comments.

Nothing is resolved, of course, because Mary and Meredith are leaving – again. By nature, housewives repeat themselves: women fight, they reconcile, they fight again. Even so, you have to be willing to play the game to some degree, and the RHOSLC cast is having a hard time with that. Nobody wants to be the bad guy – think of Lisa, who attended the LVP MasterClass on “Don’t get your hands dirty” and the Ramona Singer MasterClass on “Weeping without tears to end an argument”. Except for Jen (and to a less screaming extent Whitney) these aren’t women who seem to like conflict. When Meredith explains that she’s pulling out because “they want to fight and argue and it’s not interesting,” one again has to wonder if she knows what show she is on.

And no, despite what the franchise’s critics would have us believe, there’s more to Housewives than shouted insults and thrown wine glasses. But you need this conflict and the equally important conflict resolution to keep the train going. There’s something daunting about the lack of catharsis this season of RHOSLC, and this episode – with its walk-offs and distractions – feels emblematic of that. It’s even more frustrating when the drama is about something that is really important. The preview for the rest of the season suggests the cast will soon pick up the pace as we head towards the inevitably Jen-centered reunion. In the meantime, however, we are far from the exhilarating heights of the drive to Vail and there is a real risk that this train will derail.


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