Even the most diehard Real Housewives fan may, at this point, be wearying of the manifold beverage lines, truculent dinner parties, and doomed vacations that are the franchise's hallmarks. Thank goodness The Real Housewives of Melbourne has come along to make you fall in love with delusional ladies all over again!
The true shocker of The Real Housewives of Melbourne is that it manages to revive the franchise while following basically the same old Housewives formula: ladies shopping, talking shit, taking vacations and yelling at each other. It's sort of like how in Australia, zucchini is called "courgette." Am I excited to eat zucchini? I mean, it's fine. But COURGETTE!?!? How thrilling! [Update: According to several commenting Australians, it is actually just called zucchini. I swear I learned "courgette" during my semester abroad in Sydney, but it's possible that it was all one big drunken hallucination. Apologies! —Tracie]
The real triumph, of course, is in the casting. These ladies: a) all look and sound like drag queens; b) are supremely weird. They also seem to love the questionable phrase "Chinese whispers," and have an enthusiasm for cheese not seen since Wallace & Gromit. Let's meet them!
First of all, Jackie is an actual PSYCHIC. She's also married to a guy from the Australian band Silverchair, which makes her a rock star's psychic wife. Jackie and her husband are launching a tequila line called La Mascara, which is likely going to be confusing to people who assume that it's, well, mascara. How THAT did not ping her psychic angels is unknown.
Jackie was thrust into the chewy dramatic center of the group early on when, at a dinner party of doom (true of all dinner parties featuring psychics, as we learned at our friend Camille Grammar's house) Gina asked if her long-distance partner had another lady on the side. Jackie was like, "Well what do YOU think?" (Knowing full well what Gina thought, because she's PSYCHIC.)
Being a bit younger than the other women and prone to painting herself as a down-to-earth straight-shooter in the midst of upper-crust Toorak ladies, Jackie is kind of like the Brandi Glanville of the series, and can be equally annoying. (I personally loved it when Gina made her cry by calling her psychic abilities demonic.) Jackie also tends to shout every line of her interviews (usually tagged with a, "Shine shine shine!"), and is quite possibly drunk 80 percent of the time.
Oh my God, Gina. WHERE TO BEGIN? Gina is a barrister, a cancer survivor, a spray-tan enthusiast, quite possibly an actual drag queen and, in the end, a gift to us all. She had a mystery man who lived in the United States, but she broke off this "geographically impossible" relationship after Jackie's psychic angels noted that he might be cheating on her. But, notably, not BECAUSE Jackie's psychic angels (demons, in Gina's eyes) noted that he might be cheating on her.
Much like a recent-season Lisa Vanderpump, nearly EVERYONE seems to have a problem with Gina. Jackie doesn't like that Gina thinks she's demonic, which, fair. Lydia doesn't like that Jackie is prone to prevarication when admitting to the shit she talked about Jackie. Janet doesn't like that Gina showed up late (merely an hour late, and not even with a stop at Popeyes!) to a casual tennis match, spent another hour changing in the bathroom (to the sound of profuse hairspraying) and then took the court in pink stiletto heels—a thing that Gina was doing to be funny, because she cares about our entertainment! Quoth Gina, ""Really, at the end of the day, who wants to watch five bloated women running around a tennis court? I don't."
Andrea doesn't like a LOT about Gina, including the fact that Gina got spray-tan and makeup all over the walls, doorknobs, towels, and probably ceilings of her very white beach house. Yes, this actually happened. When all the ladies confront Gina on vacation, she powders her nose and then peaces out, with nary a bead of sweat penetrating her three inches of makeup. I LOVE HER.
Oh, Lydia. At first she comes off as pretty and sweet and innocuous. Sure, she seems to have a shopping problem, but who doesn't? And if she and her husband like to fly their little plane to some island just so they can buy seventy pounds of cheese, who are we to judge? That cheese looks delicious!
And then you see Lydia talking about what an art enthusiast she is and, when pondering purchasing a giant sparkly panther statue for her ski house in Threadbo, saying, "The artist named the panther after the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in London, so…." And you realize that she's just kind of dumb. Lydia caused mondo drama by sharing with Jackie that Gina said she didn't trust anything that came out of her demonic mouth, and encourages everyone to confront Gina whenever possible. Janet opines that Lydia is brainless and the embodiment of mischief, while Gina plain old calls her a cunt.
Full disclosure: I am kind of obsessed with Janet. She's like a hologram from a mid-run episode of Knots Landing that somehow alighted upon a plastic surgeon's office in Melbourne. Her tag line is: "When life throws rocks, I melt them down into diamonds." WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
Janet has recently separated from her husband of 30 years, who is apparently an old dude. A "former" "party girl," Janet loves to boogie down on gay night at the club owned by her first ex-husband, and is perfectly comfortable getting all sorts of shit injected into her face on camera by Andrea's plastic surgeon husband. We also see her go on her first date in ages, with a man 20 years her junior. At the conclusion of the date Janet apparently invited him to her suite at the Windsor, where they turned on all the TVs. I'm assuming that is code for something VERY freaky.
In a tide of anti-Gina sentiment, Janet stuck by her barrister pal for a while, until the fact that Gina is tardy for every party became too much for her. Quoth Janet upon Gina's lengthy time changing into tennis gear: "What the hell is she doing in there? She couldn't trowel on any more makeup if she used a spatula. WHAT IS SHE DOING IN THERE?" Janet spilled ALL of Gina's shit talk to the other ladies, and felt compelled to lead the confrontational charge whilst they were all on vacation, though Andrea soon snatched the reins from her.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the shadiest one of all? Hint: IT'S ANDREA. Andrea is married to a plastic surgeon and helps to run his business, as well as a skin center. She has very strong feelings about how well she's managed her life as a working mother, and wants to impart this wisdom onto others via a book of the checklists she's used to terrorize her children and nannies.
Andrea proclaims herself to be the conservative one (read: anal retentive), though she is NOT conservative in talking really mean shit about Gina's hair, clothes, makeup and generally draggy ways. (Which, newsflash, Gina KNOWS she looks like a drag queen. Her favorite movie probably IS Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Shut up, Andrea.) (And ALSO I love how they all make fun of Gina for looking like a drag queen, which, like, take a glance in the mirror, ladies.)
Andrea, along with Lydia, is also responsible for THIS very fucked-up, feathered housewarming gift:
She is basically the worst, though by all appearances a pretty good tennis player.
And then there's Chyka.
I am SO obsessed with Chyka's hair, and scream with delight every time it comes on the screen. Chyka is sort of like the Heather Thomson of the bunch – she has a successful business (she's the "queen of events in Melbourne") and a very loving marriage. She cooks ravioli Bolognese for her son and his friends. And she more or less stays neutral on the drama, but in a way that makes her seem pleasant rather than boring. We've yet to see if she's got a, "Don't tell me nothing, motherfucker" up her sleeve, but for the moment we can rest in the pleasure of her gravity-defying follicular magic.
Are you watching Real Housewives of Melbourne? If no, catch up on Hulu! And if yes, who's your favorite Housewife? Where do you stand on Gina's leaking spray tan? And how does Chyka get her hair to DO that?
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