THIS week's episode of The Real Housewives of Melbourne opens amid serious family drama.
Venus and her sister Rebecca are about to meet with their father, so that Rebecca can finally reveal that she's called off her long-awaited wedding. Perhaps producers sensed that audience interest in a new Housewife's sister's love troubles with a man we haven't even met would be minimal, so Gina's along for the ride too.
"I feel a bit like a big sister to Venus so … it naturally flows through to her sister," is how Gina justifies intruding on this private family meeting. Sure, fine, whatever works.
Their father arrives, and an emotional Rebecca delivers the shocking news - as Gina just sort of hovers there in the kitchen sipping tea and wondering when she'll be allowed to leave.
"100% I am with you. You are my love, my treasure," Rebecca's father tells her - as Gina looks on awkwardly:
Across town, Jackie and Janet meet Sally for lunch, keen for her to report back after last week's truffle hunting expedition with those on the "dark side" (that's Lydia, Gina and Venus, for those of you playing at home).
As Sally dutifully fills them in on what was said, Janet experiences a wave of intense pleasure, inhaling the gossip greedily:
Then Sally drops a bombshell from the "dark side": Lydia says Jackie and Janet have a huge rift between them. Their perfectly synched reaction to hearing this will surely be studied for years to come:
Jackie's instantly furious, accusing Lydia of trying to drive a wedge between two best friends.
"Lydia, go get a job. Go be productive in society. Stop gossiping about people, and be nice," she fumes.
Sally tells the pair that all of the Housewives are invited to an upcoming party to launch her new line of accessories.
"Have you got enough room in there for Lyds? Because she's a largish girl …" says Janet.
"I tell you what, she's just getting BIGGER and BIGGER. She is."
Just to drive the point home, she drops the universally recognised 'fatty boombah' gesture most commonly seen in school playgrounds.
Later, Sally joins Jackie and husband Ben, who are busy scoping out venues for her planned 'Shine It Up With Jackie' national tour.
So what does said tour entail? "I'd describe it as Jackie's personality in a confetti gun being shot across a room," says Ben. "There's touching moments … a lot of dancing and fun … yeah, it's really cool."
Jackie kicks off an initial rehearsal in the space.
"[To imagined audience] Hi guys! [Instantly faltering] I can't even … I don't know … oh, it won't be like that. I feel like the angels will shine through me." Off to a winning start, then.
Jackie's got lots of activities planned for these Shine It Up extravaganzas. There's a 'booty shaking competition', in which audience members will be invited onto the stage to shake their arses, no doubt in a bid to distract them from noticing the fine print on their tickets that says 'no refunds'.
Jackie will also blindfold members of the audience and force them to hug each other, which if nothing else at least means the #metoo movement will have a slew of fresh new voices coming into 2018.
Next, Gamble pops by friend and former Taxiride lead singer Jason Singh's house - and quite a nice house it is. Here we were thinking all the members of Taxiride would be more Taxidrive nowadays.
"I've known Jason for a while through his music … he really is one of the most standout musicians of my era," Gamble says, thereby revealing she came of age during the heady days of So Fresh: Hits of 2001.
Gamble says that she had a record deal when she was 18, and was starting to make headway in the industry when her hearing faltered, forcing her to give up her dream. Now she's been fitted with better hearing devices, is ready to sing again - and wants Jason's help.
The song she's penned - a jaunty, keyboard-backed ditty with comedic lyrics about the hassles of married life - suggests Gamble's primary musical influence is Frontline's Friday night funnyman Elliott Rhodes.
To this episode's most intense scene: Jackie gives Sally a psychic reading. Regardless of whether or not you believe in Jackie's abilities, a televised reading does seem like an especially fraught thing for Sally to subject herself to, just eight months after her husband's passing.
As expected, it's full-on. No sooner is Sally through the door than Jackie tells her that she's being 'visited' by her late husband. Within minutes, Jackie's pawing at Sally's jewellery, spinning her wedding ring on a chain, and announcing that the goosebumps Sally's feeling is in fact her husband's touch.
Much like her reading with Janet way back in the first episode of RHOM - in which the 'angels' told her that Janet had to pawn her beloved wedding ring - much of Jackie's spiritual guidance here is jewellery-based.
"Where's his watch?"
"I don't know … he lost it," Sally stammers.
"No he didn't lose it, he MISPLACED it. And you're gonna FIND it again. And that will happen THIS YEAR."
Finally this week, the Housewives all gather for Sally's launch party - with some unusual bouncers guarding the door:
Venus comes bearing props: A photo she says instant enemy Gamble texted to someone she works with. It's a still from the Hitchcock classic The Birds, showing a woman being pecked to death by a crow. "Ha ha ha, this is going to be Venus," was Gamble's alleged caption when she sent it.
"I expect an apology. Not acceptable," Venus sniffs.
Gamble protests in vain as the group turns on her: It was a JOKEY death threat! A FUNNY JOKEY death threat!
"What's wrong with these girls? It's not a photo of Venus. She wouldn't dress that well."
Across the party, Lydia and Jackie sidle up for a one-on-one - ostensibly to talk through their issues, but instead Lydia delivers the news she's been dying to pass on. Janet's been bitching about Jackie behind her back, and Lydia has information to prove it. Jackie looks stunned.
Janet's summoned over, and immediately directs her fury to Lydia, who does seem quite pleased with herself.
"Oh, you are such a c***. You are SUCH a c***," Janet fumes (Housewives double c-bomb!).
"I'm gonna f**king slap you in a minute."
Confused, Jackie flees the party in tears, disappearing into the night, Janet wailing as she follows close behind. Back inside, Lydia surveys the mess she's made.
Next week: it's Jackie's party - but who's invited? Gamble and Janet have another public stoush that ends with Gamble threatening to masturbate over her rival's husband. Fun!
The Real Housewives of Melbourne screens 8:30pm ADST Wednesday on Foxtel's Arena - and we have a full recap up on news.com.au right after each episode airs. In the meantime, chat Housewives with recapper and largish girl Nick Bond on Twitter at @bondnickbond.
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