Editor's note: As many of you know, Bravo debuted a new show about the L.A. food scene recently. Since some of us spend our
Sundays Thursdays watching sports instead of reality television (yes, even if it's about food; especially if it's about food), we though we'd ask a writer who writes more about television than about restaurants to cover the series. Read on for her weekly updates.
Last night's episode was so depressing I wandered around my kitchen afterwards for 30 minutes spooning pomegranate chip coconut milk ice cream into my mouth, contemplating why I wanted to jump into the ocean. Episode six just didn't have any “heart.” This is a reality TV show and I understand its limited feel-good capacity, but if it's not going to have any heart, I want goofy, funny moments, and light drama like dildos in pots, taxidermy jackalopes, and meandering on farms. Instead, with the exception of a few honest moments, we got passive aggressive, nit-picky, catty, forced drama, despite everyone's pleas for wanting to come together because they're women in the restaurant industry. And that is depressing. Is this why it aired early last night? Bravo wanted to slip it past everyone? Gather up some Xanax or some morning viognier and keep reading.
It begins in Santa Ynez, tying up loose ends on the fun female Get Along Gang trip that never was. The trip was research for Kat who probably won't even write about it because they didn't do enough research. Next time I'm sure she will research the research to make sure there's enough research to research. The women cook which “brings everyone together” for forty-five minutes and they enjoy a farmstead meal outside in the beautiful, peaceful valley of Santa Ynez, where they “fucking freeze their ass off.”
Last week, Jessica got offended that Waylynn called her dip “white trash,” so she confronts her about it. We must ask: How many times can you say “dip” during a fight for the argument to not be taken seriously? About one. Instead of apologizing, Waylynn told her that she “meant it in a loving way and if it hurt her feelings that's your shit,” and with that Jessica revoked Waylynn as her girl crush. Luckily, Kat noticed “that hot tub looks really hot,” so she and Jessica go for a soak away from the tension and Kat consoles her for a second time that night. Waylynn presents Jessica a cookie crumble, berry, mint, whipped honey apology. She accepts and enjoys it in the hot hot tub. Girl crush back on.
Brenda sits and looks around the yard, reflecting, “What a special day,” it was before saying, “If I wanted to spend the weekend yelling at bitches I would have stayed home with my dogs.” No one will ever go back to Santa Ynez.
When in the course of human events — when one consumes too much wine and mozzarella — it becomes necessary to dissolve toxins and participate in a juice cleanse. Brenda is a novice but Kat has done a lot of cleanses, which are just as much a part of her job as giggling and flirting. Smile, Flirt, Juice shall be the name of her headband company. Together they stand at Pressed Juicery, ready to oxidize and dispense of toxic toxins through their digestive system, using aloe, chlorophyll, and self-determination. “How irritable am I going to get?” Brenda asks. “I'm normally, like, pretty irritable.” Ha!
After getting juice with Brenda, Kat gets juice with Waylynn at Dr. J's Vibrant Café, while discussing Kat's alleged promiscuity in relation to her career. A few episodes ago Brenda told Kat, “you sleep with people you write about and you write about people you sleep with.” Since there is no other conflict to talk about, Kat wants to ask Waylynn her advice on the matter.
Waylynn shares an honest opinion and informs Kat that she does indeed have that reputation and recalls a time when Kat was flirting with Waylynn's ex, Michael Voltaggio, back when they were together, which tainted her opinion of Kat probably as much as the erroneous Eater article she wrote about her.
“But that's how I get my stories!” exclaimed Kat! See, she took Eater from 300,000 hits to 2 million hits. How? “I disarm people by being nice and sweet and that's a tactic I use to get stories for Eater and it works. So fuck everyone.”
Waylynn offers her some advice that Kat doesn't want to hear and is met with another, “But that's how I get my stories! Why would I stop now?” Waylynn suggests she “own her shit” and not care what people think as long as she knows the truth or change her behavior. She can't have her icebox cake and eat it too. Ugh, Waylynn isn't getting it. Stop trying to make “self-respect” happen. Kat must act like she's going to sleep with everyone for the rest of her life until eater gets 3050 billion gazillion hits and she becomes President of Hits!!! President of Hits means you are immune to public judgement. “I'm not the best communicator,” says Kat, the writer, after she thanks Waylynn for her time.
Jessica “pencil skirt and briefcase” Miller drowns her sorrows in a double vodka soda at a bar, like Steve Carrell in Crazy Stupid Love, hoping Ryan Gosling will stroll in and give her a job at Spago. Later, she finally calls her dad and finally tells him she has parted ways with soul-crusher/restaurateur, Harry Morton. Jessica is still very concerned with getting the approval of her father and we wonder why the other girls haven't discussed this significant issue dating back to her childhood instead of say, dip talk. Maybe then the viewers could have some thoughtful insights into the complicated relationship between child and parent and leave this episode without a sense of meh.
The cast meets at Smoke for dinner to eat meat. Brenda gets there early to visit with Lindsay who is drinking a fancy peaty scotch in a dimly lit room, wearing a smoking jacket and choosing the perfect Cuban cigar while throwing the unacceptable ones on the floor for her minions. For honest moment number two, Brenda apologizes for yelling at her in a drunk haze up in Santa Ynez and opens up about her problems at work and her drinking/fighting issues. Lindsay accepts it, and also apologizes for her words, when prompted by Brenda. We think it's fine until Lindsay presses the issue and now we know one thing is certain: Lindsay passive aggressively called Brenda a liar.
The cast takes their strategic seats at the dining table and out come a bunch of drinks, a loaf of warm peasant bread and butter that Kat smells before the other women eat it. Brenda and Kat sit with their 'Brenda Pours' of juice in a martini glass and quickly leave when the entrees come because they don't want to be around food, which is just the polite way of saying, “I really have to go to the bathroom immediately after that beet juice.”
Nina, Waylynn and Lindsay sit with Jessica, the odd one out, who is clearly feeling uncomfortable, nervous and vulnerable. Nina picks up on this and instead of feeling a little sympathy or making an effort to include her says, “Jessica is on edge a lot and she seems highly, highly nervous in every situation we go into and sometimes I just want to go “Boo!” and see if she'll fucking piss herself.” Since this is not a humorous thing to do in any capacity, we can only suspect that Nina was just hoping to stage something dramatic to share during her next Show and Tell gathering. No one will like it.
Jessica awkwardly asks Lindsay about the party she is throwing. Lindsay informs her that she actually isn't having a party anymore. As Jessica walks out the door after dinner, Lindsay invites Waylynn and Nina to the party she's not having. Ah! A lie? Can you believe it?! She lied about a party that Jessica doesn't really care about and has no real affect on her life whatsoever! The viewers at home are on the edge of their seats. Also, if she lied to Jessica does this mean she lied to Brenda too?
Waylynn points out that Lindsay is an idiot by softly mentioning that Jessica will definitely find out about the party and know she lied. Lindsay says, “It's not a party, it's just a “friends and family thing.” I totally understand — whenever I throw a party friends and family are not invited. I pass out flyers on the corner of La Cienega and Beverly to strangers because why would you invite your friends to a party? They are strictly invited to “friends and family things” only.
“Whatever she's not invited I don't care. She doesn't have any business being there,” Lindsay tantrums. Though it seems someone cares enough for Waylynn and Nina to huddle around her cell phone outside the restaurant while she calls Jessica on speakerphone to tell her another smaller lie, so she wouldn't find out about the bigger lie. “It's out of my control who can attend,” says the woman who just invited two people on camera.
Nina takes a drag of her sigaretta and muses a profound, “It's kind of surprising and heartbreaking to me that even within this network of women, and we're even in different fields of the culinary industry, there's this this tension and competitiveness that I really wish wasn't there,” before she yelled, “boo!” at their waitress so she would piss her pants.
Yes, Nina, we wish the tension and competitiveness wasn't there as well, but most importantly, when it is, we want it mixed with some humor and some heart. When it's just the cast showing up at restaurants together, forced to eat food, talk, and create weird no-stakes drama is when it starts to become Real Housewives of A City. It is the forced drama and catty interactions that feed into the stereotypes that this show is supposedly trying to break. Let's keep it fun and give it some heart.
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