Viewers slam ‘insulting’ TV wedding stunt
PAST-life regression, an ill-advised stunt for marriage equality and a glitterbomb fight: Welcome to the Real Housewives of Sydney finale.
During last week's episode, we saw Athena and Lisa try to spring a bizarre 'intervention' on Victoria that failed miserably and only alienated them further from their castmates.
This week, Athena's seeking answers for her discontent - through the medium of past life regression, obviously.
"I have noticed that I have intense anger issues with some of the women, so there might be something linking us through a former life," she explains, as she settles in for a bit of time travel.
Within minutes, Athena's regressed all the way back to 1793. Her head jerks from side to side as, eyes shut tight, she tells the hypnotist her name: "Iakovos."
Is Iaokovos married?
"Katya … Katya always loved me, she was always there … She left me for my best friend."
She's sobbing now. This is some straight-up Exorcist s**t.
"He betrayed me … My best friend lied to me. He took my wife away! They took my daughter away. They took her!"
The hypnotist pats her on the shoulder, offering a noncommittal "Mmm … yeah."
So who was the best friend, the dude who did Athena - sorry, Iakovos - so wrong? Does she recognise that person today? Oh you BET she does.
"It's someone that just came into my life … O'Neill … Nicole O'Neill."
Yes, Real Housewife Nicole is the 1793 homewrecker.
And the daughter she lost? IT WAS ONLY LISA BLOODY OLDFIELD.
Having created drama with everyone around her in this life, she's now reaching back through the centuries to find new fuel for her feuds. Incredibe.
"It was really shocking to see that Nicole was my best friend in that lifetime and stole my wife," says Athena, as though this is now an established fact rather than, say, the effect of a gas leak in her hypnotist's office.
Next we're with Matty, who's been summoned to the luxury penthouse of amber-preserved socialite Christa Billich.
"Christa IS Sydney. She's an icon, she's the Harbour Bridge." In that she requires around-the-clock maintenance from a team of workmen to keep her from crumbling into the sea?
The ladies enjoy a glass of champagne on the balcony, Matty clearly struggling with glass-to-lip spatial awareness:
Christa's got some big news: Her Pomeranian, Charlie, is getting married. To a cat. To promote same-sex marriage equality.
Christa Billich: On behalf of the entire LGBT community, I applaud you for this brave and dignified show of solidarity. You are truly the Australian Macklemore. #samelove
Charlie the Pomeranian is actually a divorcee, we learn, but the previous marriage ended in a bitter split. The groom "had very strange sexual behaviours … he used to bite her p**sy," says Christa.
Christa has another announcement: She's recently had some work done ... south of the border. She describes her new, improved vagina as like a "smiling Mona Lisa," and if you'll excuse me I'm off to raze the Louvre to the ground.
Is there more? THERE'S MORE. The procedure didn't hurt at all - in fact, Christa proudly announces that she reached orgasm while the surgeons were busy at work.
Please join me in marvelling at Matty's 'I am on a slow ride to hell' facial expressions during these revelations:
Across town, Athena's invited a few of the girls (read: NOT VICTORIA) to an Audrey Hepburn-themed breakfast at Levendi jewellers. As they sit down at the table, Athena announces that each of the ladies will find a gift under their seats.
Yep. She's going full Oprah Winfrey.
"I'M HAVING AN OPRAH MOMENT! THIS IS MY OPRAH MOMENT!"
They've each been gifted a luxury Levendi watch, and how DARE you think Athena's attempting to curry favour after weeks of appalling behaviour.
"I just want the girls to see what a kind, open and generous person I am," she says.
Her husband Panos is on hand to fetch the ladies jewellery, top up their champagne - and deliver invites from Christa Billich to the inter-species wedding of the century.
Talk turns to Christa and Charles Billich - a truly unorthodox couple even when they're not marrying off their pets.
"Apparently, the beautiful women that he paints, it's all a come-on. Christa told me," says Lisa.
"He shags the arse off them."
As that delightful turn of phrase hangs in the air, Krissy makes an observation: Billich has painted Matty in the past.
OOOOH. Cue much innuendo-laden giggling (and big problems later in the episode).
The next small group activity sees Krissy, Nicole and Victoria meet up for an 'aerial yoga' class. Basically it's an hour of hanging upside down from a piece of silk like you're in an RSL P!nk tribute show, and Victoria's enthusiasm for the task at hand seems a little forced:
"I want to do aerial yoga as much as I want to shoot myself in the head, but I'm gonna come, because GOD FORBID I don't go," she says.
She needn't worry, because they mainly just hang about like lululemon-clad sloths in a tree branch. Victoria grills Krissy and Nicole about Athena's breakfast, and they proudly show her the watches they received.
"I thought you had your dad's watch on. It's an old man's watch. It's not nice," she sniffs.
"I wouldn't have taken it if I was there, I'd have said 'No thanks, I'd rather you just be nice to me'."
This sniping aside, as they faff around with the silks, giggling and gossiping, there's a friendliness and silliness that's been missing from so many of the inter-housewife interactions in the past 11 episodes. More of this next season please - maybe it could replace an uncomfortable scene or two of Oldfield family woe.
So, after an entire season of cape-throwing, glass-smashing and name-calling, there was really only one way this show could hoist itself past the finish line: with a POMERANIAN WEDDING.
The ceremony is held in the shadows of docking cruise ships at Circular Quay. Imagine the international visitors disembarking in Sydney Harbour, only to be greeted with this sight:
Victoria's absent from the ceremony, which gives ample fuel to Athena and Lisa:
"She's better off at a funeral! She needs to pull the broomstick out of her butt! How would she fly though!" ETC ETC, INSERT CANNED LAUGHTER HERE.
Let's meet the happy couple, shall we. Here's the miserable cat forced into this arranged union:
Charlie the dog seems less depressed - on the contrary, she spends most of the ceremony performing energetic nasalingus on Christa Billich:
Once the vows are over, it's off to the reception at the Billich Gallery, where all the animals in attendance are having a great time thanks for asking:
The reception's in full swing and "everyone's very enjoying it," says Matty - until Athena, champagne in hand, lets a few insults fly.
As she now recounts it to the group, Krissy has been insisting to anyone who'll listen that Matty and Charles Billich had slept together when he painted her portrait.
"This is an absolute blatant lie," says Krissy - and indeed it is.
Matty, understandably, is incensed at the intimation.
"IT'S NOT A CRIME TO BE PAINTED BY CHARLES BILLICH!" she screams.
The screaming continues as Victoria enters the party. Turns out she's not carelessly tardy - she skipped the ceremony on purpose, having decided that attending a socialite's pet wedding would not actually be the best way to show her support for marriage equality. Hell, she even spoke to some REAL LIFE GAY PEOPLE who agreed that the whole thing sounded like an undignified trainwreck best avoided.
And she was right - as the episode aired, many fans of the show tweeted their horror that the Housewives would attend such an event.
"I don't think you're going to be attacked tonight," Krissy tells Victoria as she arrives - leading to perhaps the season's most perfect edit:
"…AND THAT STUUUPID F**KING ENTITLED VICTORIA," says Athena, ranting to Lisa from the other side of the gallery.
"I will feel elated when the girls finally realise what a horrible, despicable, POISONOUS woman Victoria is."
Lisa and Athena rejoin the group and the screaming starts up again. Then it suddenly turns physical: Lisa shoves Matty. Matty throws her drink over Lisa, then smashes her glass to the floor.
They push and shove while, in the foreground, Victoria dashes past the camera with her head down - presumably to see if the taxi she emerged from no more than two minutes ago is still idling out the front.
Shout out to the drag queen in the corner, quietly and determinedly filming the entire fracas on her phone. It's the little details like this that really make this show sing.
Matty storms out of the gallery, shouting over her shoulder for everyone involved to "go f**k yourselves." That's her done for the season, then.
Lisa and Athena turn their attention back to Krissy, Victoria and co. By now, these ladies know not to engage Athena and Lisa in a fight - instead they seem to consider them with a mixture of bemusement and pity.
Krissy suggests that Athena has a problem with anger when she's been drinking, to which Athena - who's been holding a glass of champagne all evening - insists that she DOESN'T. EVEN. DRINK.
Just to prove how not-drunk and totally stable she is, Athena reaches into her handbag, produces a vial of glitter and throws the contents in Krissy's face before scurrying off.
Sure, it's dumb, but it's also quite unsettling: Unlike the standard housewife spontaneous drink-in-the-face, Athena clearly premeditated this move, packing ammo to pelt at her rival. Even the drag queens are horrified:
Krissy tries to laugh it off, but she's shaking. "It's fine … it's fine," she says, voice wavering, as Victoria and Nicole rally around.
Athena stalks back with Lisa for another round, but Victoria steps in to deliver a blunt message: If you tend to think everybody else in the room is an arsehole, it usually means you're the arsehole.
Athena obviously takes this constructive criticism with trademark grace and humility:
"YOU'RE JUST A BITTER AND TWISTED OLD UGLY WOMAN AND GO F**K YOURSELF."
Victoria lets out a long deep sigh, shrugging to a figure off camera - presumably a crew member. "I'm leaving ... I can't do this anymore." She's out.
Athena shouts after her as she walks out of the party, followed by Krissy and Nicole.
So this is how it ends. Every other cast member has finally tired of Athena's outbursts, and now it's just her and Lisa, standing alone together in the middle of the room. It's like the heartbreaking final scene of August Osage: County, with Athena as Violet Weston and Lisa as her submissive maid.
Of course, Athena gets the final word of the season.
"You can give strawberries to pigs but they will NEVER be appreciated ... and THAT'S what they are."
Fine, OK, whatever, I guess ...?
Next week: The reunion! The ladies sit down with host Alex Perry to rake over the highs and lows of the season. Let's hope they're frisked by security beforehand.
The Real Housewives of Sydney screens Sundays 8:30pm on Foxtel's Arena channel. Check back right after each episode airs for our full recap - and in the meantime, chat all things Housewives with recapper and appreciative strawberry-eating pig Nick Bond on Twitter at @bondnickbond.