by Nick Bond
THE Real Housewives of Melbourne is back on screens after an 18-month hiatus, with two new Housewives in the mix.
Shout out to new girl Sally Bloomfield who hasn't quite mastered the "fun n' flirty Housewife opening credits dance" and instead flaps her arms around like she's in a game of charades and the answer is 'wind farm'. Four season-deep pro, Jackie Gillies, meanwhile, pulls dance moves that suggest she's still gunning for that spot in Bardot.
We open this season with Gina Liano, who's been "keeping busy" since we saw her last.
There she is on the phone, wheeling and dealing: "Hi, I just want to follow up on that fake tan appointment …"
The woman is clearly flat out.
Gina's also got a new dog, so she's cutting Lydia's 'Rich woman foisting herself on small animals' grass:
Speaking of Lydia, she's rebranded herself as a Nigella-esque domestic goddess this season.
"I feel that I've developed what I want to do, and it's coming through food," she says smugly. Ew, Lydia.
She's still torturing her poor dog Figaro, who now gets around in a tiny business shirt for some reason and who can't get through a playdate with Gina's dog without Lydia insisting that "the two of them LOVE each other - they're so GAY". Lady, chill out a bit.
By the time Gina and her dog have arrived for said playdate, Fig's scarpered to sit by himself outside, trying his best to maintain an air of dignity while wearing the world's smallest Tarocash shirt.
Yes, as with previous years, this season's recaps will be at least 60% Figaro screenshots, sorry bout it.
Lydia tells Gina more about her "calling," cooking. This is of course different from the "callings" she had in previous seasons, interior design and bullying Gina among them.
"Cooking really takes me to another planet at times," she says. So... Earth?
Gina and Lydia have grown closer since last season, with Lydia really stepping up when Gina's father passed away. Some of the other girls did not - Gamble's absence from his funeral was noted, particularly given "she goes to the opening of an envelope".
"It was a very short friendship, and she was quite demanding by the end of it, and unsympathetic and not understanding," Gina says of Gamble. Lydia does her best attempt at listening:
Gina's planning a catch-up dinner with the girls, but won't invite Gamble. Lydia's not too happy that she's even inviting Jackie, seeing as those two are still feuding.
"I will never. Ever. Trust. That human bean again," Lydia says of Jackie. Yes, we replayed this several times and she definitely says "bean." Culinary queen!
To Gamble next, who's doing a spot of gardening while dressed like Carmen Sandiego gone undercover at White Lady Funerals:
She's also got her feud with Gina on her mind. "She hasn't spoken to me. She blocked me on Instagram," she tells husband Rick.
And all, Gamble reveals, because she posted a meme comparing Gina to a Pokemon.
"If someone had told me that Pokemon would ruin a friendship … you can't make this stuff up," she sighs.
But Gamble's got her own gripes with Gina, who has publicly labelled her a "fame whore".
"That might be true, but I don't really need to hear it from a friend," Gamble argues, reasonably.
She's also angry with Gina for what she sees as slightly stalkerish behaviour: Gina has poached Gamble's favourite dress designer and make-up artist.
"To add insult to injury, I find out she's got the same lamps as me because she's using my decorator now!" she wails.
Poor old Rick tries his best to feign interest in this tale of a friendship torn apart by a brutal mix of Japanese cartoons and mood lighting:
We check in with Jackie Gillies and husband Ben next, and it's comforting to find that, after 18 months off our screens, they remain Australia's Horniest Couple. Out on a date at a rooftop bar, they discuss their plans to start a family - which for Ben, is merely a conduit for the real prize, getting to "massage Jackie's Z-cup boobies".
I guess they'll just adopt the kid out so they can focus all their attention on vigorous norkplay?
As the date wears on, their banter gets pretty racy:
Ben [lasciviously]: "We could do it right here ... Monkey dancin' in the bedroom."
Jackie [excited, eyes wide]: "OOOH MY MUM SAID I LOOKED LIKE A MONKEY WHEN I WAS BORN!!!"
Next, we're with Gina at her day job. Not as a Chemist Warehouse perfume mogul, her other day job:
She's meeting a colleague and one of two new additions to Real Housewives this season, Venus Behbahani-Clark. "She's dolled up like I am," is how she describes her pal. She sure is; the two could practically be sisters. World, meet Poot Liano:
We're shown an intro package of our newest Housewife. Venus lives in Melbourne's leafy eastern suburbs (duh) with her kids and British husband James, who has "a proper inherited lord of the manor title," making her an official 'Lady.'
Venus is super glam - she has a giant mane of blonde hair, contact lenses tinted to a colour not found in nature and a waist so tiny she must be stashing several vital organs in her handbag.
Venus isn't the only ridiculously glamorous member of her family. She also has a sister, Rebecca, who could easily make a living as Australia's premier Janet Jackson impersonator:
"You don't look like a normal person, do you understand that?" Rebecca asks matter of factly as she watches her sister pout and preen. When a Janet Jackson doppelganger's telling you that, you know your look is unique.
The established Housewives spend much of this episode prepping to attend the Logie Awards. Jackie and Janet get ready together, and Jackie reveals she's not been a big fan of Gamble lately:
"I don't have time for Debbie Downers. I have better things to do, like having sex every day and seeing what the gods do for me."
"Listen, if you're having sex every day …" Janet offers.
"WELL I AM! WELL WHO DOESN'T?" Jackie bellows.
Janet can't quite hide her shock at Jackie's gale-force sexchat:
Jackie's wearing a dress to the awards that she proudly announces is "made out of wetsuit material." It may take three people to shoehorn her into, but it's great to know that if she can't get an Uber after the Logies she can always surf home.
And can we talk about Janet's Logies look? The expression 'More front than Myer' comes to mind:
Gamble arrives for Logies pre-drinks, and fills the girls in on her feud with Gina. She explains that she's still smarting at her frenemy's behaviour during her wedding, to which Janet screams, "THAT WAS TWO YEEEEEARS AGO!"
Yes, and this is Real Housewives, so you'll all still be dissecting it in 2036, Janet. Settle in.
We finish this week with Gina's dinner, which she says she hopes Gamble hasn't found out about (spoiler: of course she has). She's also expressed concern about Gamble's recent weight loss throughout this episode: "I'm worried about her, she's very thin," she's announced more than once. Doll if you were that concerned, why not invite her along for a meal?
Venus is also coming to this dinner, and before she arrives, Gina primes the ladies with a bit of essential info about their guest.
"In high school, they actually called her 'Venus the Penis,'" she informs them. With friends like these …
Venus arrives, glammed up in feathers, a bodysuit and shiny harem pants. The girls can't quite believe their eyes - Lydia especially:
As the women settle in for dinner, a waiter comes by with a "special gift from Mrs Wolfe." Yes, Gamble may not have been invited, but she's still making her presence felt.
It's a box containing red roses - and a note: "Dear Gina, I would NEVER have excluded you from my table. Give my love to the girls! x"
It's an intimidatory masterstroke, the Housewives equivalent of waking up with a horse's head in your bed.
Gina's visibly rattled.
"It's actually spooked me. She's like a crazed lover. Your crazed boyfriend would do that. That's stalking, I think I need to get a restraining order," she fumes.
"OK, that's it for me. Sorry doll, you've got some problems," she says, tearing the note in two.
Next week: Gina and Gamble face off, and Gamble welcomes new girl Venus - by immediately picking a big ol' fight with her.
Real Housewives of Melbourne screens 8:30pm Wednesdays on Foxtel's Arena Channel. Check back after each episode for our full recap - and in the meantime chat Housewives with recapper and human bean Nick Bond on Twitter at @bondnickbond.