The fourth season of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” which aired Sept. 5 on Bravo, begins with a cold open in Bermuda dramatically time-stamped as May 10, 2023.
Producers hold mics outside Heather Gay’s room while Gay answers a mysterious phone call.
“What did you find out?” she asks, then, “Are you kidding me right now?”
“I’m trembling,” she says. “I can’t believe it’s her. How could she do this to us?”
At this point, the producers decide to bust into the room, but Gay shoos them away and slams the door.
Cut to Whitney Rose, wearing a fur jacket and oversized sunglasses, walking down a SLC street, while her voiceover recites Psalm 55. Then Angie Katsanevas, walking her poodle, reciting Micah 7:5, and so on and so on until each of the real housewives of Salt Lake City have read an obscure Bible verse over sepia-toned footage of them hanging around the City Creek shopping center dressed very much like the way my friends and I dressed for a karaoke birthday party in the seventh grade — boas, glitter pants and sunnies that eclipse half their faces.
The Bible verses are in keeping with the church theme the show’s creators like to shoehorn into this series.
Transitions often include shots of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and choral harmonies often accompany the dramatic soundtrack. It’s a religious place, the producers want to remind us, but as a religious person I have to confess, I seem to have missed the part of my faith tradition where we gather on city streets in our finest feathers and read biblical insults at each other. But someone please let me know when that next gathering is, because it looks fun.
After the fire and brimstoney introduction, we find ourselves four months before the Bermuda footage, placing us smack-dab in Utah’s eternal winter, which I have previously complained about AT LENGTH and so will refrain from doing so again.
Lisa Barlow is coordinating a party at the Sundance Film Festival, which was in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Barlow claims people call her the Sundance Queen. I have only heard Barlow call herself the Sundance Queen. But to be fair, I pretty much just talk to my kids, my dogs and my editors. So what do I know? She does seem to know what she’s doing as she instructs her team on where to place furniture in a venue and how to mop a floor.
Barlow meets her husband, Jon, in a car where they discuss their oldest son, Jack, who has decided to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and only recently told his parents about that decision. Barlow feels left out of the process, which my mom can probably relate to because when I received my mission call I decided to open it all by myself and told the cashier at the 7-Eleven before I told my family.
Next, we find Gay in boots with very tall heels, shoveling the walk outside her huge, new home, which her book sales and Beauty Lab and Laser business gave her the money to buy, she explains. Meredith Marks shows up and is appalled to find Gay shoveling her own walk (“everyone in Park City hires a snow removal company”), but joins her with a fur coat draped over her shoulders and shovels maybe an inch of snow.
Gay describes to Marks the backlash from her book, and the fallout from her ties to Jen Shah, her once ride-or-die, who is now in federal prison for her involvement in a telemarketing scheme. Marks has some of her own strife, she claims, and explains to Gay how offended she was when their fellow housewife Whitney Rose implied Marks may have a dirty bathtub, because I guess Marks has no other storylines to work with right now.
Later, Marks is in her Meredith Marks boutique on Main Street in Park City, which is shocking, because every time I’ve been on Main Street, not only is Marks not in her store, but nobody is in there. It’s always closed. At like, 3 p.m. But it’s open for this scene, probably because they needed a place to film Marks meeting up with Mary Cosby, who is back this season after leaving for Season 3 in the wake of some bizarre statements and behavior.
Marks and Cosby get lunch at what I’m pretty sure is Pine Cone Ridge and talk about their families. Cosby’s son might be married, she says (?) and her husband has been in Las Vegas for six months, which she says has been great. Cosby describes her spinach salad as “too spicy.” The scene is a perfect summation of the chaos that is Mary Cosby.
Over in Draper, Angie Katsanevas walks into The Cliff Dining Pub, the place where I eat when I want to gawk at the rich and famous south Salt Lake County crowd. Katsanevas meets Barlow and newcomer Monica Garcia at a back table. Katsanevas explains that she met Garcia through Shah — apparently Garcia worked as an assistant of sorts to Shah for a while? Maybe? It’s not fully explained.
Garcia explains that Shah once propositioned her to join her scheme and told her she could make $600,000 by attaching her name to some mysterious document. Garcia called her “friend in the Secret Service” who told her to stay away from Shah. “And that is how I became a witness with the federal government in her trial,” Garcia says, and let’s go ahead and give a round of applause for the maniacal genius casting director who found this woman.
Garcia tells the woman she is going through a divorce. It’s her second divorce, actually. She married her husband, found herself in what she calls “an entanglement,” the details of which cannot be published in the Deseret News, got a divorce, remarried her husband, and is now getting a divorce again. OK!
Up at Deer Creek, Gay is preparing for a “fresh start party” which she is throwing to bring all the housewives and their friends together. She’s come prepared with 1,500 snowballs for the women to throw at each other, because nothing says friendship like getting pelted in the face with a chunk of ice.
The women arrive in the most expensive and unhinged outerwear imaginable (did you know Louis Vuitton sold snow gear? I didn’t), and make passive-aggressive pleasantries while they pick at the buffet table.
Gay makes an announcement in which she explains she and Rose, who were feuding last season, have made amends, and says she hopes everyone will get along. She doesn’t actually hope that, obviously, because if everyone got along, there would be no show. Thems the breaks, you know?
Someone asks who has read Gay’s book and not a single hand is raised. “No one is reading that book,” Cosby mutters under her breath. She may be chaos, but she’s also hilarious.
Marks pulls Barlow aside (these two were also feuding last season), and says she would like to get together and talk through things. “I know she missed me,” Barlow says in a confessional. “I would miss me too,” she adds, and I have to admire that energy.
Then Marks confronts Rose about Bathtub-Gate, an argument so stupid I can’t believe Bravo gave it any airtime. And yet, it’s an argument that bridges a commercial break! Marks truly has no other way to get on camera, I guess. Very sad.
“We don’t want to lose brain cells over this,” Rose says, and I could not agree more.
The episode concludes with all the women throwing snowballs at each other. Well, all the women except for Cosby, who refuses to participate and instead watches through a window (respect).
It’s going to be another 20-ish episodes until we know who did what that sent Gay into her Bermuda meltdown. But if this first episode is any indication, it’s going to be a fun ride to get there.