Episode Synopsis: The ladies’ collective relationships start to break down for the worst as all of the ladies are invited to participate in a “Grape Stomp” at the Salahis’ vineyard!
Segment 1: We’re at the apartment of Lynda, who’s cooking bacon and other breakfast fare for half-her-age boyfriend Ebong. “You look so cute in your apron,” he tells her. Lynda’s daughter and son, Jessica and Mihran, then arrive in the kitchen in their PJ’s. Lynda says again that she’s looking for a house because the apartment is just not big enough for all of them.
At Stacie’s house, she’s entertaining three sorority sister lady friends – Arvia, Tanya and Suzanne. They are in DC for the Howard University homecoming. Stacie talks with them about the search for her birth father, saying (like last week) that she has found her birth mother, who has been reluctant to put her in contact with her birth father.
Stacie reveals that her birth mother is Caucasian (a new fact). She says mama wants their new relationship to be secret, since mama’s regular family (which is entirely Caucasian) has no idea about Stacie (whose birth father is Nigerian, it’s also revealed). Stacie says the fact that mama has a long-lost kid from a black father would apparently be a real issue for mama’s regular family (it shouldn't be, but apparently it is). Stacie says her birth father and mother met in the Peace Corps, where daddy was a teacher of the volunteers. Stacie also says that daddy does not even know that she exists. Stacie says she’s hurt by the fact that mama wants to keep Stacie a secret, not to mention that mama won’t give her any info on daddy.
Mary is in DC and about to arrive at the soon-to-open Hela Salon of Ted Gibson (celebrity hair stylist). Michaele Salahi shows up immediately before Mary (Michaele’s apparently supplying wine for the grand opening of the salon). Also hanging around is Jason Backe, the celebrity colorist at Ted’s salon. Mary off camera says she’s excited to be helping Ted make it in DC. When Mary arrives, she seems a bit taken aback that Michaele and Ted are so engrossed in conversation that neither seems to notice Mary’s arrival. Finally they notice Mary and the threesome exchanges hugs. Mary and Michaele then their hair done at the salon. Good grief (as I’ve noted before), Mary really should not allow herself to be shot without any makeup on! Mary talks to Ted about a charity event she wants to organize for November to raise money for Children’s Hospital. Ted agrees to be involved. He also smoothes over his failing to notice Mary upon her arrival today.
Later it’s the Grand Opening event for Ted’s salon. There’s a decent crowd on hand. Cat is there and talking to Michaele. Cat is complaining (as always about something or the other) that the room is too hot. Next Lynda arrives with Ebong. Lynda and Michaele, despite the recent fireworks between them, exchange pleasantries and are generally cool with each other on this day. Off camera, Mary complains that Michaele and hubbie Tareq use the wine from their vineyard (as they are here) as a “bartering system” to get to know important people (i.e., “if we’re invited to the event, then we’ll supply the wine”). To Cat, Mary accuses the Salahis of being “social climbers” who use charitable and other events to promote themselves. Mary also insinuates that the Salahis lack the “integrity” to "make it" in DC social circles.
Segment 2: At Mary’s house, she’s talking to daughter Lolly about Lolly’s new job. No longer waitressing, Lolly has started working as an executive assistant. Mary, who has issues with Lolly’s dog, Kona (sp), says that the best part of Lolly’s new job is the fact that she can take Kona to work with her. Lolly is also looking to move to her own place in the near future. Mary wants Lolly (who is 23) to move out on her own, but Mary is not being overly pushy about it, citing the fact that Mary herself once as a young married woman had to move back home with mama and daddy for a spell.
At Cat’s house, Michaele has just called Cat on the phone. Michaele invites Cat and her husband to a “grape stomp” this weekend at the Salahis. Off camera, Michaele says she’s inviting all of the show’s other ladies to the event. Cat in response says that she was planning to hang around with Ted Gibson’s “colleague” Jason Backe on Saturday, and Michaele says that Cat can bring Jason along. Then SLAM TIME: Referring to Cat’s prior visit to the Salahis’ estate, Cat spouts: “Have you got some wine for us this time, or are we drinking beer again?” Michaele confirms that wine will be flowing this time around.
Michaele is next on the blower with Lynda to also invite her to the grape stomp. But Lynda says that “unfortunately” her son has a football game on Saturday. Lynda extends regrets, saying she would like to attend, and that she “misses my old Michaele.” This is in reference to Lynda’s belief that Michaele has changed for the worse since marrying Tareq. Michaele clearly does not appreciate that remark, but hides her sentiments as she ends the phone conversation with Lynda. Off camera, Lynda reveals that she would attend the event if only “Michaele had been a true friend to me.” Says Lynda: “I prefer to reserve my time and energy for people that I love and care about.”
It’s now nighttime, and Jason Backe, Cat and Mary are together and arriving at Contemporaria, where they meet up with owner Deborah. This is a “contemporary furniture store” in Georgetown, and Mary says that Deborah is a good friend of hers. Mary tells the others that she wants to paint her dining room “high gloss black.” It’s a part of her master plan to turn her house white and black and “infused with some funky pieces” of furniture. Cat seems horrified at these ideas (just looking at her facial expression), and Jason seems a bit turned off as well.
Cat expresses that she thinks Mary should be decorating with pieces a bit more “luxurious,” and Mary (again just reading facial expression) is NOT at all happy with Cat’s remarks. But Cat won’t leave it alone, telling Mary: “I wouldn’t want to sit in any of these chairs for more than 5 minutes, especially with my ‘nobbly’ (sp) bottom.” Mary tells her that this is her bestfriend’s store (meaning “shut the **** up”). Cat’s response: “Well, should I just say I love everything then?” But at least Jason lends an ounce of credibility to Cat’s opinions, as he’s in general agreement with Cat. But Mary is not happy with his comments either.
Then it’s Salahis Story Time! The foursome (Mary, Cat, Jason Backe and Ted Gibson, who's also arrived) sits down for a drink, and Jason launches into a story about the Salahis. He says the Salahis invited he and Ted Gibson to go to a Congressional Black Caucus dinner, which he attended and found to be amazing (apparently President Obama was there). Mary comments that such event is a huge weekend for the African-American community in DC. However, Jason says there was a gliche. Apparently he showed up with Ted, but the invitation supplied by the Salahis only admitted one person to the event. The Salahis told Jason and Ted not to worry, because they would still be able to both get through security at the event. And sure enough, the Salahis were able to get both of them inside the event.
At the event, according to Jason, it became clear that the Salahis are basically crashing the event (as they infamously did at the White House state dinner in November 2009), telling Jason and Ted that they should all scope out the joint for tables with no-show chairs in which the four of them can sit. Jason says he started panicking following the Salahis’ “find a spot” advice. Finally, there’s something Cat and Mary can agree upon, i.e. the embarrassing nature of the Salahis’ conduct in this story.
And the story gets better! Jason says that Secret Service agents next approached the Salahis and escorted them from the premises! But even as the Salahis are being shown the door, they were still laughing it up and schmoozing with attendees at the event! And the story gets even crazier: After getting kicked out, the Salahis snuck their way back in, weaseling their way into the VIP section with the foreign dignitaries, where they hung out the rest of the evening! But truth be told, what’s the more pathetic thing here? The Salahis or the keystone cop-like Secret Service that would permit such shenanigans in the first place?
Segment 3: Stacie and her husband Jason Turner (not to be confused with Jason Backe from the prior segments) are riding in a stretch limo on the way to the Salahis’ Grape Stomp event at the Salahis' Oasis Vineyard. They swing by and pick up Mary, Cat and Jason Backe. Off camera, Michaele says this is the first Grape Stomp event they’ve had at the winery since Tareq’s mama sued to try to take away Tareq's ownership interest from the joint (a nice healthy mama-son relationship, you might say). She explains that mama lost the lawsuit (reading between the lines, it sounds like the judge dismissed the case).
For some reason, the Salahis appear to have a small army of private security personnel manning this event (not to mention freely roving Doberman Pinschers!). Michaele explains that the security is present mostly to prevent the media from showing up, alleging that Tareq’s apparently vindictive mama often calls the media and tells them to attend events hosted by the Salahis. Tareq then leaves a message with the throng of attendees in the limo explaining this situation, and Stacie and the others can’t believe what they’re hearing as they listen to Tareq’s voice mail. At the suggestion that “security” will have to let the limo in, Stacie remarks: “What the hell!”
Inside the winery, we are introduced to Jen, Michaele’s hot assistant (what’s with all the personal assistants on this show being much hotter than the women for whom they assist!?! – recall Lynda’s hottie assistant, Robin, as well!). Jen and the Salahis are making final preparations for their guests’ arrival.
Inside the limo, Jason Backe hilariously can’t help himself from again telling the story of the Salahis sneaking themselves and he and Ted Gibson into the Congressional Black Caucus dinner. This is the first time that Stacie and hubbie Jason have heard this story, and they are NOT AT ALL amused by the Salahis’ alleged conduct on that evening. And a new fact emerges!: Jason Backe says that due to the ticket shortage situation, he and Ted and the Salahis had to sneak into the event through a side door where the bus boys were entering! Stacie is beside herself, finding the Salahis’ behavior to be extremely rude and disrespectful to the African-American community.
Stacie is livid! She comments that she thought she knew the Salahis well following their recent French excursion, but that this story totally flies in the face of her whole impression of the Salahis. She’s also concerned that Stacie's group has to go through some sort of security clearance to attend the Grape Stomp. Stacie resolves that she needs to call Tareq to talk more about the current situation. She reaches Tareq on the speaker phone, and Cat asks him whether it’s safe to show up at the Grape Stomp. Tareq’s connection promptly goes dead.
Segment 4: Lynda is out at dinner with BF Ebong (which is very weird in terms of show flow, since the other events are occurring in the middle of the day). She’s preaching to him that all the men in her life have always “needed bootcamp; they’ve just needed simple training; they’ve needed someone to get in their face and say here’s all the reasons why you need to behave.” Memo to Ebong: With girlfriends like Lynda, who needs enemies, dude. Turns out that what brought all this on is that Ebong allegedly wasn’t reading all of Lynda’s text messages. Oh, The Shame! Then dude tries to sweet talk Lynda out of her rant. PW’d: Such an awful site to behold. Methinks Mr. Ebong could use to read a little Independent Rage blog. Open up his mind! But I digress.
Segment 5: The Guests arrive for the Salahis’ Grape Stomp! Off camera, Cat remarks how off-putting it was to see all the security personnel and Dobermans upon the limo’s arrival. One Doberman is right at the limo to greet the occupants! Then the greetings between the Salahis and the guests ensue. All of them do the ol’ fake kiss on both sides of the face. As a private aside, who the hell does that in real life! I’ve personally met plenty of “important” folks in my day, and never once has one of them purported to try to give me that sort of hucklebuck. Sickening, frankly. But again I digress.
True to her word, Michaele and hubbie are actually serving wine to the guests this time instead of beer (if I'd been in attendance, gladly serve me beer). Off camera, Cat comments that this whole scene (with the security people everywhere) is very uncomfortable. On camera, Cat confronts Tareq and asks what the hell’s going on. Michaele tries to change the subject, saying that she and hubbie are happy to have “that” behind us. In her brash way, Cat responds, “it was only 15 minutes ago, so it’s not that far behind us.” Stacie, hubbie Jason and Mary immediately try to lighten the mood, saying, “Can we have some more wine, please?”
Tareq then tries to steer the attendees’ attention to the Grape Stomp at hand, and he’s even carrying a whistle. He explains that each participant has exactly 2 minutes to stomp grapes. Cat comments that she doesn’t much care for someone blowing whistles at her. She also says that she won’t be stomping, but only spectating. At that, Tareq blows his whistle at her again (a definite friction has developed between the two). Tareq tries to lighten the mood again by telling Cat that he’ll ask her to blow the whistle too down at the Grape Stomp. Next the group heads down for the stomp. On the way down, Cat reveals to Jason Backe that Tareq’s bossy behavior is what has set her off (the whistle and all).
Down at the grape stomp pit, Tareq blows the whistle again at Cat and directs her to come over to tute the whistle herself. Cat tells him, “let’s have some manners.” Tareq doesn’t appreciate that remark. Michaele tries to smooth things over, but Cat indicates that she’s still peeved. Michaele says, “let’s love everybody,” to which Michaele's hottie assistant Jen chimes in, “love is better than being bitchy towards everybody.” OH MY: CAT HEARD THAT ONE! And Stacie and hubbie Jason too! Jen basically just called Cat a bitch! And to his credit, Jason Turner remarks off camera that Cat was essentially being a bitch. (I like Stacie’s hubbie – always have since the inception of this series -- he seems like a REAL dude with whom I could hang out in real life).
Now Some Grape Stomping! Stacie and Mary are the first in. THEN SCANDAL! Mary and Cat immediately recognize the grapes as being SUPERMARKET GRAPES RATHER THAN VINE GRAPES! Oh, The Humanity! [Personal Aside: WHO makes such observations? I sure as hell wouldn’t. But then again, I’m not an aristocrat. But if you try to sell me falsely on something I know, such as Nattie Ice instead of Keystone Ice, THEN we'd have some real talking points! But yet again, I digress.]
At any rate, Mary and Stacie start stomping away, with Cat actually blowing Tareq’s whistle to get them started. Michaele jumps in with them too. Mary is offended that Tareq tries to insert a competitive angle into this whole equation, measuring the amount of grape juice that comes out the bottom of the pit by the end of the 2 minutes. And quite hilarious, too, is how this idiot Tareq just can’t seem to help himself from blowing off that damn whistle for no good reason about every 10 seconds! I appreciated that BS – that made me literally "laugh out loud"!
The Salahis take note of the fact that Cat doesn’t participate (apart from her initial whistle blast). Then Cat starts ranting about “bollocks.” Only knowing this British word from the context of the Sex Pistols’ famously titled punk album, “Never Mind the Bollocks,” I felt compelled to google search the word tonight. Apparently it means falsehood, fakeness, lies, deceit: Implying Cat’s sentiment that this was another totally fake and phony Salahis event.
Then some additional drama on the side: As the grape stomp ends (although not the entire event – there’s still dinner left), the guests get cleaned up, and Cat continues with her rants, commenting again how the grapes were supermarket variety. Mary previously had the very same observation, but she’s clearly become perturbed at Cat’s incessant complaining. As Cat complains again, Mary says right to her face: “W-H-O C-A-R-E-S.” Then Mary remarks that “I had fun,” and methinks Cat (who is often oblivious) definitely gets the bad vibe emanating outta Mary!
Next Cat commits yet another faux pas, choosing to leave the entire event with Jason Backe. It seems Jason had another event to attend, but Cat didn’t – she just left (using Jason as her excuse). As she and Jason exit the scene, Cat is heard yelling “bollocks” a few more times just for good measure! Stacie and Mary both take offense to Cat’s sudden exit from the Salahis. Remarks Mary: “Cat does not care if she’s offensive. I think it’s best that she goes home.”
Dinner Time at the Salahis! The conversation quickly centers on Cat’s departure. The Salahis didn’t much care for Cat leaving early like that. Mary tells them, “She says whatever the hell she wants and she forms opinions very quickly.” Now THAT is very true, and it’s been why I have been very slow to cast judgment on Cat, because she sometimes reminds me of myself. She’s also a Brit (unlike me), and I think a lot of her cultural background very much clashes with the American culture (which I also don’t hold against her). She’s also exhibited a definite bigoted streak, which I could not eschew more. But I still can’t bring myself to denounce the lady! Like I said, her Independent streak (if not her bigotry) is very close to my own heart.
THEN BOMBSHELL: The Salahis ask about the limo ride out, and Mary brings up Jason Backe’s story about the Salahis and the Congressional Black Caucus dinner! Then Stacie’s hubbie Jason starts in, and it’s hilarious (have I said that I really like this dude?): “It’s a little difficult for some white folks to, like, sneak into the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, undetected, I mean, that’s like me and Stacie sneaking into the Daughters of the American Revolution dinner: I’m going to sneak in through the kitchen!” To their credit, the Salahis find Jason’s statements hilarious too.
But funny thing is, Jason’s whole funny speech seems to have completely let the Salahis off the hook to explain the particulars of the Congressional Black Caucus dinner night! No explanation is forthcoming. Then Michaele raises with Mary the subject of Lynda confronting Michaele in recent weeks about Michaele’s lighter weight. Mary defends Lynda, claiming that Lynda “always has the best intentions for everyone.” Mary further says that Lynda’s comments about Michaele’s weight were likely out of “love and concern” for Michaele.
To that suggestion, even Stacie rolled her eyes! Says Stacie: “I don’t think Lynda is trying to be malicious, but to say that Lynda has Michaele’s best intentions [at heart], that’s Bull$hit!” [Couldn’t agree more, Stacie.] Michaele tells Mary that Michaele was very hurt by Lynda not attending today’s event at the Salahis. Then Michaele says enough about all this already and changes the subject, and Mary has a very sour look on her puss (face, of course I’m referencing).
Segment 6: We’re still at dinner at the Salahis – Mary brings up the recent dinner the ladies had with Ted Gibson. Mary, apparently becoming a bit drunk (which she tends to do, not that there's anything wrong with that), confronts Michaele over an alleged statement that Michaele told Ted, which was, “Ask Mary, she likes to talk about people.” Michaele says she doesn’t recall saying that. Mary tells Michaele that she doesn’t want people speaking negatively about her, since (she claims) she never speaks negatively about others (yeah right). Then Michaele says that she recalls Mary, Lynda and Cat making fun of her (BTW – the stress the in the room at this moment probably could not be cut through even with the sharpest of knives!).
Stacie then speaks a bit to Michaele’s defense, recalling Lynda’s statement at the dinner that Lynda did not want to be seated next to Michaele. Mary (a good friend of Lynda’s) is now on the full defensive, trying to change the subject by saying that she doesn’t want to dwell on negative energy. She also claims she was in the bathroom when Cat and Lynda were trashing Michaele, to which Michaele calls full Bull*hit! [Because, of course, how does one know she’s in the $hithouse when certain statements were being made without having been present for the making of said statements! This stuff’s hilarious!]
All the dinner attendees then grow very, very quiet (too quiet, as the old movie cliché goes). Finally, Mary breaks the silence, and proclaims to Tareq Salahi: “You have something to say!” AND THEN, OH MY GOD: SO CRASS ON BRAVO’S BEHALF: What Tareq has to say is rolled into the previews for upcoming episodes!? WTF IS THAT! Very Cheap. But regardless, the minutiae revealed from the preview of upcoming episodes reveals that Tareq has something to say about federal authorities and Mary’s daughter, which makes Mary start crying. Very Weird, Zany Stuff. But completely CHEAP of Bravo to roll a cliff-hanger into previews of upcoming episodes. That’s the first time I’ve EVER seen anything quite like that on any reality show, which is saying something.
Program note: Be sure to return here next Thursday night for my next Recap of the Latest episode of The Real Housewives of DC!