‘What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out’ – Alfred Hitchcock.
With much trepidation I tuned into Season 3, of the ‘Real Housewives of Melbourne.’
The voice over of housewife Chyka states that, this season will reach a whole new level of madness, more intensity and a new level of fabulousness. In other words it would, ‘up the anti’ on bitchiness and school yard antics, which Gina best describes half way through- ‘it’s like cats in the street in the middle of the night.’
What better way to open the show than at the charming house of entertaining goddess, Chyka who has invited housewives, Jackie and Janet a bewildered, but excited pair along to what is evidently their first appearance at a book club. The two are introduced to some of Chyka’s book club friends who we never hear a peep out of, nor is there any book talked about! Chyka likes to think of it as more of a gathering and definitely not the ‘studious’ word. Luckily there is food and champagne aplenty for Jackie, who seems to equate book clubs with libraries, tea, little cakes, old women and nothing better to do, except gossip. Newcomer ‘Susie’ turned up to the book club. Susie has known a few of the ladies for about a decade. A keen jogger, her second marriage was to the President of the St Kilda football club, so its no surprise she is a well known name given how much passion Melbournians feel for their football or AFL, as it were.
The thread through this episode hinged on Shane Warne, whose name was brought up more than a few occasions, in different circles. Interestingly enough, he has been in the headlines recently, not for his texting, but for his foundation, which is being investigated by a consumer watch dog, amid a probe into its promised financial donations.
Lydia, we learn is only just back from London where she visited family and as ambassador to the Shane Warne Foundation, went to ‘Lords’ Cricket ground, which she describes as, ‘surreal.’ She is asked off the bat (excuse the pun) by a fit looking, recently returned from a health farm in Germany, Petti-Fleur, at a chic Richmond eatery, if there is anything between her and Shane.
Over at the book club, Janet tells the girls, she got a call from Shane AKA Warnie, who asked her out. After she tells him she has an appearance, he asks if she will come to his place afterwards. Janet stipulated this to be the sort of relationship she would be happy with and wants. This didn’t go down well with Lydia, who Janet said was very, very unhappy. Petti-fleur could be right when she posed the rhetorical question – can he really just be friends with a girl?
Newcomer, Susie, added her opinion on the matter, stating that the gossip going around Melbourne is – there is something going on between Shane and Lydia and that Lydia has done nothing in her power to dissipate the rumours.
Lydia might subscribe to a quote from ‘Oscar Wilde’, whom I’m sure she is familiar with, that ‘It’s better to be talked about than not talked about.’ It is so obvious Lydia enjoys to ‘stir the pot’, and thrives on drama and the absent Lydia from Season 2, is back and ready to play everyone off one another. This makes for television gold and surely she is the treasure trove the producers’ need.
Susie tells a couple of the ladies that when she split from her first husband, it was Lydia who spread nasty gossip about her. Last season the drama unfolded around Gamble and this season it looks set on being Lydia or ‘lydiot’ to quote Janet, who says she was only retaliating by calling her that on social media as she was called a grandmother, a dirty one at that.
Every time Lydia opens her mouth in this episode she manages to be patronising, ignorant, condescending, facile and glib. Lydia shows us the kind of person she is when she has her housekeeper, Joanna drive her around as her Porsche has been sold and she is awaiting an upgrade. Poor Lydia has to endure being driven in a lovely red Suzuki and says being seen in this car shows everyone ‘what a snob I’m so not (sic).’ ‘Do you know your rights from lefts?, she asks her housekeeper and now ad hoc driver. Lydia thinks it will be amusing for Joanna, because wait for it …..she is so crazy, Joanna knows it and it will be ‘so much fun, we can talk about washing powder, and the different sponges.’
Joanna should be so lucky.
Lydia wonders if the car can handle corners and has airbags and one wonders if the only airbag in the car is Lydia who seems to struggle with her left and rights.
Lydia meets up with Gamble in a crowded restaurant to impart some gossip and instigate drama, fresh from her tête-à-tête with Pettifleur. Lydia tells Gamble that Petti-fleur called her a black widow, and enquires if it is true that she met her fiancée Rick on sugardaddy.com. as rumour has it. An astounded Gamble says she met Rick on a much more reputable dating site known as ‘eharmony.com. Who cares really and why is Lydia trying to make Gamble feel small? Gamble is angered at the unprovoked attacks from Petti-fleur, whom she thinks has it in for her. Gamble calls Petti-fleur a Praying Mantis – ‘she bites their heads off and eats their brains after she’s fucked them.’ With lines like this, Gamble’s sought after career as a comedian just might come to fruition.
It all comes to a head in the last five minutes of the episode when all of the women are at Susie’s house for a civilised day of baking. After the social media spat between Lydiot and Grandma falls short of being resolved, Gamble barges into the pristine looking lounge room that is adorned with women ‘dressed up to the nines’ and confronts Petti-fleur, wanting to know what her problem is. This arouses old wounds about her book ‘Switch the bitch’ and the mess Petti-fleur says she had to clean up, thanks to Gamble talking about it being plagiarised, in the last season. ‘Listen here sugardaddy.com, Petti-fleur screams at Gamble, who wants answers and needs to sort out the mess as she has a big event happening soon, i.e. her wedding and will have to invite Petti-fleur and asks her ‘why did you call me a black widow?’
A guilty looking Lydia, sitting next to the both of them earnestly tries to justify her treachery to a deflated looking Petti-fleur, saying she only wanted to clear the air between the two, to get it out in the open. To think Petti-fleur was only beginning to trust Lydia.
This comes as an epiphany for a few of the women, It is Lydia who is the schemer, who according to Susie (who has known her since they were teenagers), informs the housewives, who are left aghast at what went down, that Lydia doesn’t have friends, she has works in progress, BUT there is always an agenda.
The facial expressions, contrived as they are, are priceless. Jackie, looks disgusted and storms out to the kitchen where most of the ladies are positioned, a few of them saying they feel shocked and embarrassed for Susie, whose baking day has fallen flat.
Gamble screams at Pettifleur to get fucked and what springs to mind is her earlier comment to be careful how you ‘wake the dragon.’
Once again Lydia has the floor and tries for a perplexed expression and says she didn’t expect it to end like that.
And cut………thanks Lydia, this is television gold, think ‘milked’ and ‘flogged to death.’ Nice work, well done!
Now, we might have to lay off the ‘Warnie’ booty call angle for a while.
A nice set up for things to come and the divisive avenue it looks set to go. The claws are already out! meow…..
Other things that we learnt this episode:-
Lydia says that Janet is forever pushing her intelligence. Gamble used to go out with the son of ‘Selfridges’ and thought they sold fridges. Gamble wants to go over the ‘pre-nup’ with fiancée Rick, so ‘we will know what happens at the end of our relationship’, Gamble also envisages spending between $15k to $30k on a wedding dress and there won’t be any bridesmaids. It has been flat out for Gina who has been so busy with her range of handbags and shoes, her acting appearance in neighbours and on celebrity apprentice, she now has a personal assistant. Gina has been wondering who would be good, to sell her fragrance. She thought of ‘Chemist Warehouse,’ because they’ve done Kim Kardashian.