This week the ladies of “The Real Housewives of Melbourne” head to the Philippines – maybe they had a secret rendezvous with the RHOA crew. First though, Lydia leads a pre-trip shopping expedition with Jackie and Pettifleur, to her favorite clothing store: she’s been shopping there since she was 18, she says. “Ohhh…that’s a long time,” Pettifleur shadily replies. Jackie, who cannot seem to stop repeating the phrase, “very couture,” dons a full length fur coat but ultimately decides not to buy it because she’s picking up psychic vibes from it. Do baby seals haunt outerwear? They pause from perusing just long enough for Pettifleur to pull them aside to complain about Gina – she feels as though she has been treating her as an outsider.
Elsewhere in Melbourne, Gamble totes her dog Cash in her Louis Vuitton, to enter him in the Pomeranian Challenge at the local dog show. “I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing,” she admits.“I haven’t practiced with Cash at all, so we’re sort of going in blind. But we’ve got a few moves: like he can walk.” Glamazon Gina graces the show with her presence, cheering Gamble and pup from the stands. Many air kisses are blown. Gamble attempts to coax Cash to perform simple tricks. Instead, he slips out of her grasp and literally runs circles around her, much to the delight of the crowd who burst out laughing. Despite every indication to the contrary, Gamble and her canine caper partner manage to place third in the competition. Maybe there was a slapstick comedy routine round I missed? “I think we got it because the woman in fourth place forgot to blow-dry her hair in the morning, and it must have a bit more to do with the full presentation of your team,” Gamble humbly conjectures.
Janet meets up with a few of the Housewives to fill them in about the charity-focused tea business she’s launching with her son. She’s heading off to the Philippines to meet with a local ‘tea master’, and she’s inviting them all along….even Gamble and Gina. Lydia mentions that her housekeeper is from the Philippines – she’s just so relatable. Meanwhile, Gamble is lunching with her older sister Tempest – who is visiting from Sydney for a little “freshen up” that includes several plastic surgery procedures: eye lift, lipo, chin tuck, Botox. No stranger to the scalpel herself, Gamble, who has spent $90,000 on surgery, $20,000 of which was to fix bad work she had done, offers cautionary advice, “You won’t be able to leave hospital until you’ve had a poop.” And sisterly words of encouragement like, “Oh yes, you DEFINITELY need to have that done.” With siblings like these, who needs frenemies?
Next, Jackie takes Chyka to scout a venue for Gamble’s bachelorette party, and a heaping of hot Aussie thunder-from-down-under style beefcake is on the menu. Hunter the hulky fireman and his friends, the police cop and US Army infantryman (I guess our troops are sexier than Aussie soldiers), each compete in working the ladies up into a froth. Jackie plays the innocent one, while lady-like Chyka dives right in, licking whipped cream off Hunter’s tautly toned pec. Slippery nipple indeed! Next, she gets a lap dance from the hot cop and seems to relish every thrust. She even gives him a bare-bottomed spanking. His tight end seals the deal and she agrees with Jackie that strippers need to be booked for Gamble’s big night.
Next up, Lydia’s charity poker night – a much more demure affair…that is until Pettifleur starts insinuating that Lydia is having an affair with Shane Warne, the celebrity host of the event. “They have a lot of chemistry,” she opines, digging an ever deeper hole, “They make a very good looking….couple.”
The Philippines trip is just around the corner, so we check in with a few of Melbourne’s finest as they direct their domestic help to pack. Pettifleur instructs housekeeper Lia that each of her items of clothing must be individually wrapped in tissue paper. She pulls a turban over her head and asks for Lia’s opinion. “It’s okay,” is her long suffering reply.
At Chateau de Lydia, Joanna, her housekeeper is helping her pack. Lyds knows very little about the Phillipines, she confesses and then goes on to ask Joanna if there are traffic lights over there. “REALLY??” Lyds is shocked to learn that they do indeed have traffic lights. She’ll really be impressed with the running water and sliced bread once she gets there. Joanna hands Lydia a note to give to her parents back in the Philippines. Lydia is moved. “Oh Joanna that’s beautiful! I’ve got goosebumps! I would love to do that,” she beams and gives her a hug. The touching moment doesn’t last long, as she follows up with, “Otherwise, if I don’t see them, I’ll post it.” Rather convenient, isn’t it?
The ladies arrive in Manila and check into their luxe lodgings. In universal Housewives fashion, everyone has schlepped dozens of suitcases. Jackie tops them all by packing her stylist, Ian, who just happens to be Philippino. As Ian runs Jackie through the “epic” outfits he has brought for her, she again starts repeating “very couture” on a feedback loop. She at least acknowledges her new tick. “Couture this, couture that. Sometimes I’ll even say I’m having a very couture breakfast!” She asks how to say, “I have arrived,” in Tagalog. Ian runs her through the Philippino phrase about 7 times, but Jackie, who has issues pronouncing her own liquor brand, is no cunning linguist.
Gina, Gamble and Chyka venture out for a few glasses of champagne, while the other girls shop. Chyka asks Gina for her legal opinion. She has Googled Pettifleur’s book, “Switch the Bitch,” and discovered a very similar book was already written by Apprentice contestant Omarosa. It’s entitled “The Bitch Switch.” Gina advises that Pettifleur might be in trouble if Omarosa decides to pursue legal action. Gina thinks this is Pettifleur’s chance to “flick” the degrading word ‘bitch’ from the title since it’s “not so original,” and it “might be a bit of plagiarism.” Ya think?? “Well its not exactly a feminist title,” Gamble warbles, mixing up the syllables. I’d like to blame the bubbly, but…the more Chyka and Gina try to correct her, the worse her verbal dyslexia it gets.
Elsewhere in Manila, whilst shopping for pearls with the other girls, Pettifleur complains yet again about Gina’s jokes at her expense. She adds another layer to her lament – and puts the race card on the table. She wonders if Gina’s sly comments are as harmless as her “taking the piss or if it’s a little on the racist side.” Janet and Lydia egg her on to confront Gina. “I think it will be a very interesting conversation. I do hope it happens in front of me!” Janet cheerfully concludes, no doubt wondering where she can buy some popcorn in the Philippines.
At sunset, the girls head to the roof of their luxury hotel for a glass of champs. They all kvetch about the effect the humidity is having on their coiffures. As they gaze out over the city, they spot a few slums scattered throughout. “What about when we came in from the airport – did you see all the kids playing in the rubbish? But they’re happy and they love it,” Chyka says, sounding very out of touch from the top her carefully constructed hairdo to the tips of her Manolos. “Coming from a third world country myself, I know that children smile through their tears,” Pettifleur observes in a remarkably human moment. “These boys here are the same ages as my boys, and they are working hard – not playing playstation. And they are hungry.” She sheds a few very real tears as she concludes, “I am fortunate that I can provide for my children.”
They arrive at one of Manila’s finest restaurants, which Lydia, ever the scholar, describes as being on the “seventy-ONE-th floor.” After downing a few shots at dinner, everyone loosens up and Chyka has the liquid courage to tell Pettifleur that she’s worried that Omorosa’s book has an identical title. Petts claims she already knew all about it. “Completely different. Not interested. DON’T CARE!” she declares. “People might get confused and buy the wrong one” Gina sensibly suggests. Petts dismisses that notion as “goobley-gosh.”
The two, who are seated together, continue to snark at each other, with Gina driving home the point of how demeaning the term “bitch” is while across the table Gamble randomly blurts out that she was partially deaf as a child. “I hear you constantly bitching,” Pettifleur grumbles at Gina. “You can back right off, I’m not interested in your little opinion so you can keep it to yourself. I wouldn’t read your book, especially now because I know you,” Gina retorts at a very audible decibel level. Even Gamble heard all that.
In the next installment, dinner drones on with plenty of f-bombs sprinkled throughout each course. Will Pettifleur change the name of her book, will Gina switch the bitch, will Gamble learn how to spell feminist, will Janet finish all of her popcorn? Your thoughts, mates?