‘RHOSLC’ recap: A federal prison friendship and the unintentional hilarity of ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’

The cast of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”
The cast of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” | Bravo
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Tuesday night’s episode of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” served as a timely reminder that when this show is at its best, it’s the funniest program on television.

But before we get into it, we must first discuss the biggest pop culture story of the week — disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former “RHOSLC” star Jen Shah have become friends in prison.

To me, this makes a lot of sense. I bet being in prison and meeting another inmate who has been infamous in the public eye is like being at Disneyland and finding yourself next to another mom who you can just tell is from Utah and spending the whole wait chatting and by the time you board Space Mountain you’ve followed each other on Instagram.

That’s a special kind of camaraderie and I’m happy for them. I think.

Anyway, back in Palm Springs where we ended last week, the Sprinter van full of women arrives at the Trixie Motel, where Trixie greets them and informs them that Whitney Rose and Angie Katsanevas have already arrived. This announcement is met with literal gasps.

Angie and Whitney get a chilly greeting from Meredith Marks, the planner and hostess of this trip, who very pointedly did not invite Angie.

Mary Cosby, who is dressed for a gala while sitting poolside, asks Whitney why she flew down early. Mary tells Whitney it was a childish thing to do, and when Angie jumps in to defend Whitney, Mary says, “I wasn’t even talking to you,” in the way only Mary can.

Meredith presents gifts to all of her guests, or the ones she invited, at least. Then Meredith, who is the hostess, which in Bravo World means the boss and itinerary maker, announces they will be spending the afternoon shopping for each other. Then she says to Angie, “I didn’t know you would be here” and instructs her to shop on her own. In response, Angie says, “Thank you for acknowledging that you didn’t invite me.”

Look. There is not enough money in the world that I could be paid to go on a trip on which I was not invited, hosted by a woman who has made it very clear that she does not like me, and then make snide, public remarks to said woman.

Angie, however, believes she deserves to be there as much as everyone else. And that’s why she’s a star and I’m not.

But moving on: Monica Garcia scolds Angie for being rude, and Angie does not take kindly to this. She tells Monica how offended she was to be called out, and Monica tells her to deal with her Meredith issues, which is pretty sound advice that will absolutely not be heeded.

The women head downtown, still in their swimwear, and begin what Meredith explains is supposed to be a trust-building exercise — picking out outfits for each other to wear to dinner. They should pick clothes that will make the other women look their best, she says. But most of these women do not like each other, so they end up looking like toddlers playing dress-up in their mom’s closet. “Obviously Meredith hates me,” Lisa Barlow says as she’s forced to wear a coin skirt and sheer top.

Angie is the only person allowed to shop for her own look, and she selects a dress she describes as Grecian because that’s her whole thing. Meredith calls the dress a Greek tragedy.

On the drive to dinner, Lisa mentions, again, how upset she is about losing a $60,000 ring on the last episode, and also being dressed as a belly dancer going to a dinner at a fancy restaurant. “This is no longer a fun girls’ trip,” she says in her confessional. “This is ‘The Shining’ and I am trapped, and next thing you know two twins are going to knock on my door and say ‘red rum.’” The statement demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of “The Shining,” but she tried her best.

Finally, the women are seated for dinner, and that’s when we start really cooking with gas.

The women are a few espresso martinis in, when Whitney proposes a game. They are instructed to share something not everyone knows about them. Most of them choose to share salacious details like, “I used to vacation in Palm Springs with my grandparents” and “I write poetry sometimes.”

“I’m into birds,” Heather Gay offers. Mary shares that she had a bird once, which was very weird. “It was like a flying cat,” she says. Mary is here solely for comedic relief and I am just so glad.


Angie looks directly into Meredith’s eyes and shares that she’s very sensitive, and Lisa announces that she got her ears pierced a second time. “You all are boring,” Monica, correctly, declares, and then announces her affair with her husband’s sister’s husband.

Whitney, now panicked that Monica might share something even more scandalous, announces a new game — warm and fuzzy, cold and prickly. The rules are that you must share one good thing and one bad thing about the person sitting to the right of you. This is a game I hope I never have to play, but one I hope they play on every episode of this show.

Predictably, things get pretty ugly pretty quickly. Heather, who is now MANY espresso martinis deep and wearing a hat that says “cat mommy” in rhinestones, tells Angie, “I don’t trust you.” You’re not going to believe this, but Angie doesn’t care for that piece of information. Angie, foolishly, asks some follow-up questions about why Heather doesn’t trust her, and Heather reveals that she was offended when Angie said she would buy Heather’s book only after learning that Lisa Barlow was mentioned in it. As a writer who spends a significant amount of my time begging people to read what I’ve written, this resonates with me on a profound level.

Mary refuses to participate in the game, which is probably for the best. Meredith tells Whitney that she believes she has good intentions, but that she needs to work on her communication. Mary, who seconds before said she wasn’t participating, announces that Meredith’s real problem with Whitney is that she invited Angie on the trip. It cannot be overstated how little Mary cares about these women and how willing she is to toss any one of them in front of a bus at any moment.

Monica tells Lisa that she’s a good sport, but that she felt a bit annoyed listening to Lisa complain about losing a $60,000 ring as someone who is just trying to make ends meet.

“Just be aware,” Monica advises. But Lisa isn’t willing to accept this advice. In her confessional she says, “When you can afford to buy a $58,000 ring, you’ll care about it too.” Yikes.

By this point, they’ve all had enough of the game (though I could have watched 70 more minutes of it), so Angie proposes a toast and teaches the other women the Greek word of the day, which translates to “fake.” This is when smoke starts to erupt from Meredith’s ears. Angie says to Meredith, “You’ve treated me really inappropriately and maybe I could explain how you’ve made me feel,” and in response Meredith says, “I’m not really interested.” Which gets a big laugh from Heather, who has been over-served.

“You’re being very rude,” says Angie, who, just a reminder, showed up to Meredith’s trip uninvited. “Well, you can leave then,” Meredith says. They cycle through a few variations of this exchange. With each variation, Angie gets increasingly nasty — she mocks Meredith’s home and business, and Meredith gets increasingly British, inexplicably.

Finally, Meredith snaps and yells “YOU. CAN. LEAVE.” with her eyes menacingly wide.

When Angie refuses to exit, Meredith flags a waiter and asks for security. Then she asks a very small man who is definitely not security and is definitely a waiter to escort Angie out of the restaurant. “I’ll do whatever I can,” the very confused waiter tells Meredith.

Meredith returns to her seat, tells Angie she’s an ugly human being, and then starts rambling about children who will be disabled for the rest of their lives. Even Mary, who could barely be bothered to come to dinner at all, is invested and befuddled at this point. “What is going on?” she asks, summarizing the general vibe of the table.

“You ladies have a good time. I’m going to worry about the things that matter,” Meredith sobs as she stands up and walks away. “I think Meredith should probably not have had that last drink,” Mary says, astutely.

Lisa follows Meredith and attempts to talk her down, but it’s tough to reason with someone whose body composition has become 90% alcohol. Meredith reveals that she knows rumors about Angie’s husband, and when she says “rumors” she pronounces the “r” like the queen of England because, as it turns out, drunk Meredith is British Meredith, which makes no sense — she’s from Chicago.

Meredith reluctantly returns to the table, and as soon as Angie starts an apology, Meredith starts sobbing again. So they all decide it’s time to go.

When Meredith continues crying on the ride home, Whitney asks what’s troubling her, and Meredith says she can’t talk about it. Whitney comments that Meredith tends to deflect quite a bit, and always blames external crises when put on the spot. Once again, you’ll be shocked to learn that Meredith does not appreciate that observation.

Meanwhile, Heather is in the corner trying not to lose her lunch when Mary and Whitney get into it. This fight is unintentionally very funny because Mary is trying to accuse Whitney of calling her a predator but confuses predator with the word “pornography,” somehow. Heather has to lift her head up for just long enough to correct her.

When at long last they arrive back at the Trixie Motel, Heather is too sick to get out of the van. Much to the horror of the van driver, she throws up in a bag, perfectly tying a bow on the most chaotic episode of this show to date.