Segment 1: At Cat’s house, Linda Culman (Cat’s book editor) is talking to Cat about her upcoming book, entitled “Inbox Full,” which details Cat’s wild times as a single woman in London (for example, it’s been previously reported that Cat once made out with the much younger Prince Harry of England!). Cat is up against a book deadline a few weeks away and is worried about that deadline.
Stacie and her family arrive at Sugarleaf Vineyards to meet Jerry and Lauren Bias, who are good friends and the owners of the only African-American owned vineyard on the east coast (Sugarleaf). [Lauren is gorgeous, BTW.] Stacie says that “Obama [her term for him] served them [the Bias’] wine at the governors’ ball,” whatever that means. They start in on some red wine from the vineyard.
Then Michaele and Tareq Salahi (who always like to make a big entrance) show up at the vineyard in their typical stretch limo (like dorks). Comments Lauren: “I think we need to expand the parking lot.” The Salahis are dressed fairly formally (“fabbed out”) while Stacie and her family and friends are dressed informally in jeans. The Salahis also own a vineyard and winery, and Tareq presents Jerry with a bottle of the Salahis’ wine as a present. How nice.
The group heads indoors to meet Daniel Neumeister, a winemaker at Sugarleaf. Stacie, husband Jason and the Salahis then engage in a little wine tasting. Tareq immediately starts in with blathering comments about the wine he’s tasting, trying to act like he’s the real wine expert here. Jason does not appear impressed.
The foursome then heads out for a walk in the vineyard. They start talking about Obama. Tareq says he’s excited about Obama’s positions on a possible "two-state solution" regarding Israel and Palestine. Michaele says that Obama is about bringing us all together, but then she starts rambling into a bunch of largely incoherent drivel about “changing mindsets” and mixing “red and blue” into “red, white and blue” and such. Off-camera, Jason spouts: “WHAT!?” My question too, exactly, Jason!
Stacie changes the subject and says that Jason’s brother (a hip hop artist) has the #1 single in Paris. Stacie says there is to be a big album release party in Paris and that she and Jason are flying over for it. She says the Salahis should come over for it too. “Be careful what you wish for,” remarks Tareq ominously. It’s clear the Salahis are interested in going. Stacie says off camera that she will be very impressed with the Salahis (who will be “big ballers”) if they show up in Paris with only 3 days’ notice.
Next we’re with Lynda at Saks Fifth Avenue in DC. She’s with Kelly, Saks’ retail coordinator. They are talking about Saks’ annual VIP shopping night and modeling event to benefit breast cancer awareness and research. Lynda says that her modeling agency (T.H.E. Artist Agency) donates its models for the event (which is cool). Next we see Lynda with her very hot assistant, Robin, and with Heather, the head of marketing and PR for T.H.E. Then Mary Amons shows up looking quite right in a very tight sweater. [BTW, Mary seems to be about a foot taller than Lynda, and I previously commented that Lynda’s 6’5” BF Ebong looks like he’s 2 feet taller than her. Gal must top out at around 4’5”, as I commented last week, but I digress]. The T.H.E. models then head to the runway, which goes great.
Then Mary asks Lynda about the blow-up on last week's episode between Lynda and Michaele at Paul Wharton’s birthday party. The argument related to Lynda talking to Paul about Lynda’s alleged belief that Michaele has an eating disorder. Lynda tells Mary that Lynda’s genuinely concerned about Michaele’s health, but frankly I don’t buy it for a second. I could be wrong, but I think Lynda’s motivations here are grounded in her dislike of Michaele and her desire to break Michaele’s balls about something or another. This is only reinforced by Lynda then complaining to Mary about how the Sahalis are starved for attention. Lynda definitely does not like Tareq, and she blames him for “changing” Michaele and “suffocating her soul.”
Segment 2: Readying for Paris: At Stacie’s house, she and Jason are in the process of getting packed for Paris. Meantime at the Salahis’ house, they have decided to go to Paris too and are also getting packed as well. Michaele is taking three huge suitcases, while Tareq is taking only a little duffle bag. [I admire folks who travel light, which I’ve always been bad at – but THREE suitcases!]. When Stacie and Jason learn the Salahis are going too on such short notice, they are most impressed.
Cat and Lynda meet up at Lynda’s modeling agency. Lynda implores hot assistant Robin to fetch them some wine. The purpose of the meeting is for them to talk about Cat’s book cover, which is to feature (what else) a picture of Cat. Cat tells Lynda that the book is about her (apparently largely sexual) escapades in London, including her many self-described “inappropriate lovers.” Cat says her husband Charles hasn’t wanted to read the draft version of the book (for obvious reasons). This portion of the segment ends with Lynda getting drunk and spouting about how much she loves “happy endings.”
Next Mary and husband Rich are at Equinox. They talk about how friend Ted Gibson (who owns a hair salon in the Big Apple) will be back in DC the following week, and that they will be hosting a dinner for him. The occasion is a private dinner that Ted is having with others and with top clients. Mary says one purpose of the dinner is to help Ted get introduced to important people in DC. BTW, Rich’s whole way of speaking and carrying himself once again reminds me this week of Gary Cole’s “Bill Lumbergh” boss character from the cult classic comedy Office Space, except that Rich is a nice guy as opposed to an a$$hole, but again I digress.
Rich also has a propensity for getting off some funny blasts. In reference to Tareq Salahi last week pointing his champagne bottle and shooting the cork at Lynda, Rich quips that the whole experience was like “hunting with Dick Cheney.” Mary then criticizes Michaele for her role in the spat with Lynda, clearly believing that Michaele started the whole thing (which is very much up to debate). Obviously foreshadowing bad things to come, Mary comments that she is devoted to the upcoming Ted Gibson dinner having “no drama.”
In the Village of North Chevy Chase (how about that name?), established 1924, we return to Cat’s house, where hubbie Charles is there with Cat and the two girls. Cat off camera comments that she and Charles tend not to see a lot of each other lately because of their schedules (he’s a White House photographer and does other photographer work as well). For example, Charles is about to head off for five days to do a shoot at Goldman Sachs in New York City.
Conflict: Charles' 5-day assignment in New York will prevent Charles from shooting Cat’s book cover! Oh No! Cat starts complaining to him about how hard she has to work around the house when he’s gone. Their two girls are hilarious, BTW, as they second and repeat all of Cat’s complaints as soon as they come out of her mouth! Charles is not happy with this frontal assault, and it’s clear that his away-from-home schedule is putting a real strain on the marriage.
Segment 3: Deadbeat Salahis? At Paul Wharton’s apartment, he’s meeting with Charlotte, his publicist. She tells Paul that before Paul’s recent birthday party, she received a call from the Salahis attorney, who told her, “I want you to put in writing that my clients the Salahis are not going to have to pay for this party” or else the Salahis would not attend the party. I must say that I don’t fully understand the situation here, but as best I can tell: Paul thought the Salahis had agreed to host and pay for this party, and he thinks they tried to welch on that by showing up late and acting as if they were only guests by bringing a single bottle of champagne (i.e. the one that Tareq used to shoot Lynda in her tiny little ass). This whole angle was not exposed on last week’s episode, but it’s the best I can piece together from the stray comments of Paul and Charlotte. [See below, as Mary provides better context later in the episode].
TO PARIS! Stacie and Jason are on the ground near the Eiffel Tower. They walk into their hotel, and it’s revealed that Stacie speaks no French, but that Jason speaks a little (which is about 10000 times more than I do!). Fortunately for them, most folks in Western Europe, regardless of country, speak English, as does the hotel front desk attendant. [Another digression: One of the saddest aspects of the American educational system, among myriad problems, is the lack of emphasis upon our people learning more than one language. Becoming fluent in multiple languages is a key to enlightenment, intelligence and a full understanding of other cultures. My failure to ever fully follow through and become fluent in Spanish -- a language I studied for 3 years in high school and for 15 hours in college -- is perhaps the biggest regret of my life.]
The Salahis next show up in Paris and meet the Turners (Stacie and Jason) at their hotel. Up on an outside balcony, someone has ordered a $1000 bottle of Dom Perignon. As Tareq grabs the bottle, Jason brings up the fact that the last time Tareq had a champagne bottle in his hand, he shot off the cork at Lynda's ass. They all have a big laugh over it. [BTW: It is HILARIOUS how every person on this show has a different pronunciation of Michaele’s name. Just having heard Jason’s, that was about the 10th or 12th different one that I’ve heard!]
It’s clear from the off camera comments of Stacie and Jason that while they can tend to be off-put by a lot of the Salahis' behavior, there is also just something about the Salahis that they like. [And I can generally agree with that – I think the Salahis are full of themselves and totally shallow, but they also seem fairly harmless and very much in love with each other. However, the whole alleged deadbeat angle is a different matter. That's very not cool, for lack of a better phrase.]
Back in DC, Mary is on the phone with Paul Wharton, and we get some additional new information on the threat that Paul’s publicist (Charlotte) says she received from the Salahis’ attorney last week. Paul tells Mary about that threat, and Mary reveals that DC “etiquette” and practice dictates that if one agrees to “host” a party (which apparently the Salahis did here), then it’s also an agreement to completely pay for the party. This has been a recurring theme on the show, i.e. the Salahis not paying for things. I have no inside information, but the best read of the entire situation is that the Salahis are likely over-extended financially as a result of the lifestyles they try to maintain. Indeed, Mary next claims that the Salahis paid for NOTHING at the party, and Mary really gets irritated when she compares that with the fact that they have just flown off to Paris on a whim.
BACK in Paris: We’re at the Elysee Montmartre, a famous music and boxing venue in Paris. Stacie and Jason meet up backstage with Jason’s brother, Adam – AKA Beat Assailant, an extremely popular hip hop artist overseas. Stacie tells Adam’s story, which is truly inspiring: He's a completely self-made man, who went to college in the ATL and then picked up and headed off to Paris, not knowing a word of French. Now he’s one of the biggest pop culture icons in that country. Great story! BTW, you’d never know BA (I started calling him BA even before I heard the people on the show calling him that) and Jason were brothers just to look at them. Jason is much taller and bigger, while BA is just a little fart. But as Jason says, BA was always the little younger brother, whose diapers Jason used to have to change.
BA’s concert starts! He raps in the English language, and he is GOOD. Great sound. Meantime, Stacie and Jason are impressed with how much fun Michaele and Tareq are having at this concert (and who wouldn’t have fun at this concert?!).
Segment 4: "Sexting": We’re at Mary’s house, where she talks to daughter Meghan (age 14) about “Sexting.” Meghan used the word in front of mama, but claims she doesn’t engage in "sexting" herself. Mary says she’s not ready for Meghan to even be talking about this. Meghan says, “You put me in public school!” WOW. I would have thought that all of Mary’s kids were in private school. Perhaps another couple on this show is just a bit cash-strapped as well? Just speculating. [Man, what a short segment. Fine with me though. The more commercials the better – these hour-long reality shows are SO time-consuming to recap!, and I’ve stated way too many times on this blog.]
Segment 5: Cat’s Photo Shoot for Her Book Cover! She meets photographer Anton Papich. She again comments how husband Charles can’t be here to shoot her himself since he’s off in New York on assignment. Cat poses in shades and a very hot black dress with numerous shopping bags draped on her bent elbows. She doesn’t look quite as good as she did in last week's episode on the horse riding segment, but she’s looking as good as she has otherwise. And Cat doesn’t seem too enamored with the shots that the photographer is taking and expresses her mixed emotions.
THEN HUGE-ASS SURPRISE TIME! HUSBAND CHARLES SHOWS UP AT THE SHOOT! At least it seemed like a huge surprise. But Cat doesn’t seem that surprised! “Hello, Darling,” she spouts dryly. Something tells me he must have told her previously that he might just show up out of the blue. But the show certainly made it appear as a huge surprise, at least until we saw Cat's vanilla reaction. BTW: Charles wears New Balance tennis shoes! As do I (nothing else). Very cool. Anyway, Charles doesn’t take over the photo shoot or anything, but it’s strongly insinuated that he has a shoot in mind for his lovely bride!
Now to Ted Gibson’s Party, Hosted by Mary! At the Dupont Hotel in DC, Ted Gibson arrives to meet Mary, to settle into his hotel, and to talk about the party that Mary is hosting for him. Ted has a very close friend called Jason Backe, and it’s strongly insinuated that they are a gay couple (not that there’s anything wrong with that – who gives a rat’s ass – but since I know such things are of general interest to the reading audience, I just mention it in passing).
Mary, BTW, has the biggest gamut of looks of any of the ladies on this series. At times she looks so positively HOT, and at other times, not so good at all (with this segment being an example). Then Mary sits down for a hair and makeup job from Ted and Jason, and Jason reveals that he was at the Paul Wharton party and that Tareq Salahi told him that he (Tareq) was spending a whole lot of money on that party! Oh, The Scandal! [Since Mary says the Salahis paid for nothing]. Mary is very taken aback, as you might expect. Meantime, Ted is giving Mary a new do -- long straight reddish-blonde hair (quite unlike any look for her hair that I’ve seen before), and frankly I like it!
Party On! Ted's party begins, with Stacie arriving first. Then Cat shows up, and it’s an awkward meeting between her and Stacie since Cat has rubbed Stacie the wrong way the last couple of times they’ve been together. Then Lynda shows up too. Part of the party’s goal is to give all of the Real Housewives of DC a hair and makeup job from Ted and Jason, and so Lynda, Stacie and Cat sit down for theirs. All of them now in close quarters, Lynda breaks out some of the anti-Michaele talk with Stacie's hubbie Jason. Stacie hears this and (just having struck up a pretty decent friendship with Michaele in Paris) is a bit perplexed (especially since Stacie had not heard any of the Paul Wharton party talk about Michaele prior to this).
Now Everyone’s in The House! All of the hair and makeup jobs being done, the Real Party begins. Michaele finally shows up with Tareq in tow. [Mary, BTW, has another tight top on, although the sweater from the first segment was even better!] Adding to this very combustible situation is the fact that Paul Wharton is on hand, in the presence of the Salahis, who allegedly just deadbeated his entire birthday party! Lynda and Michaele express off camera that it’s their desire to largely stay away from each other and not to engage in another verbal altercation as occurred last week. Paul Wharton, meanwhile, had a definite beef with Michaele, but he (to his credit) says that this is Ted’s Big Show, and so he doesn’t raise any issues with Michaele.
At one table, Cat is trying to mend fences with Stacie, and is also socializing with Lynda, who says off camera that she totally loves Cat. This is consistent with my view of Cat: She has rubbed people the wrong way, but I largely chalk that up to her being a Brit who has had some difficulty adapting to American culture (in much the same way I likely would have adapting to British culture, which is why I have never judged her). Lynda, Mary and Stacie all declare Cat to be their new “soul sister,” but then things break down (i.e. the normal course of things in the reality series world!):
As the ladies toast Cat's “new soul sister” moniker, Stacie’s friend Erika says that “apparently we have a new black girl in the group!” Cat doesn’t like that too much, off camera stating: “Oh my God, where did that just come from!” To me, an American, who views such a comment from Erika to just be a funny, non-serious remark that's a part of the joy of the moment, I was taken aback by Cat’s comment. But as observed in my coverage of this series before, Cat is having a tough time assimilating to our American culture. Her attitude in the States would be widely panned as bigoted (and probably deservedly so), but I still maintain that she’s from a completely different culture than us, and so I refuse to outright judge her at the moment.
Segment 6: Dinner Time at Ted's Party: The Erika and Cat rift is now accentuated! Cat, not appreciating Erika's "black girl" remark, walks right out of the party! Paul Wharton follows her. Cat views Erika as a “guard dog” designed to keep Stacie from getting too close to Cat (which, BTW, I think is utter and complete nonsense). Then Cat blasts out to Paul Wharton, “I am Not Racist!” Obviously, that reminds me of Tricky Dicky’s “I am not a Crook” line. When it gets so bad that you have to start spouting out such incredible denials, it typically means you are the very thing you are denying to be. I think Cat is likely bigoted, and that's something she really needs to work on ("racist" is an extremely harsh term which I rarely use and which is rarely appropriate – wish our two political parties would follow the same lead).
As a final note on this whole scene, Cat is trying to make nice with Paul Wharton, and she tells him, “you’re gay and your colored.” Memo to Brits: “Colored” has not been an appropriate word for at least 30-40 years in our country. Paul -- God love this cool gay dude -- disregards all of Cat’s British faux pas and apparent bigotry and still hangs around with her and befriends her. I really respect that.
Finally, we’re at the dinner table with an obviously drunk Tareq Salahi trying to deflect eating disorder rumors about his wife by claiming that she promptly put on an extra 20 pounds once they got married. Everyone off camera is going off on the Salahis (except her new friend, Stacie). Also off camera, Lynda comes right out and says, “Get rid of your husband, Michaele.” Personally, I think that comment from Lynda is very overbearing, because while I don’t like the Salahis at all, I do think they are in love. So what’s Lynda’s agenda? Seems obvious: She pretty much hates them both, and so she will say anything negative she can to try to break them up. In a nutshell: The Salahis are superficial and mindless, but Lynda seems dastardly destructive. Better watch out going forward, Salahis. End of episode.
Be sure to come back again next late Thursday night for my coverage of the next Over-The-Top Episode of Real Housewives of DC!