Real Housewives of Melbourne Season One – The final Episodes by Veena
PS – we have a new blogger for this show starting Friday! Yay!
The backdrop for this show is Melbourne Australia. For those of you unfamiliar with Melbourne, it is at the south east tip of Australia (south of Sydney).
Season One introduced us to five Melbourne socialites, and one transplant from Sydney.
- Gina Liano is a barrister who wears way too much makeup. She tries to coordinate her thick streaks of eye liner with her purses. She reminds me of a caricature of a barbie-hooker. She tells us that both her sisters have fashion lines, and she loves things that are sparkly. Think Barbie-Hooker-Jersey girl. She says people seem surprised that she’s a lawyer (barrister), and when she’s wearing her barrister outfit (kind of like a judge’s robe and a little hair hat – perhaps because they used to wear wigs?) she looks like a stripper dressing up as a judge. She is a single mother of two and lives in Toorak, which is described as the Beverly Hills of Australia. Gina was dating a guy for 8 years, but he recently moved to Florida, and they’ve been apart for six months.
- Lydia Schiavello is married to Australian architect Andrew Norbury. She is studying interior design and decoration at RMIT University. They are a virtual Brady Bunch (not) with six children between them. Lydia is strangely inappropriate, and lets out a continual string of sexual references to bondage, S&M, etc. It’s just a little disconcerting when she jokes about stuff like that with her adult step-son, and I have no idea where that story line is going. This couple loves to fly (he’s the pilot of their small plane) and heads off to ski every weekend. Lydia and Gina have been friends for 8 years.
- Janet Roach is a property developer. She is a mother of two adult sons and is recently divorced from her second husband who was 15 years her senior. Janet has a Sonja Morgan (first season) vibe to her. She’s very put together – never washes her hair at home – goes to the salon three or four times a week – and stylish. Money doesn’t seem to be an issue.
- Andrea Moss is a former New York City television journalist who now lives in Toorak. She runs a plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine business, Liberty Belle Skin Centre, with her husband, Dr Chris Moss, who is the ultimate plastic surgeon in Australia for the rich and famous. They have three young children (10,8, and 5) and up to five nannies at their beck and call. How can you have “up to” five nannies – are they part of a nanny service club? Andrea is really into product branding, so we see a lot of her at their works. She is described as very well organized – which means she makes lists of things for everything. The nannies have to follow her lists or they are OUT. The lists are pretty detailed but basic, such as unpack the lunch boxes and hang up the school uniforms when the kids change into play clothes. She thinks there is a market for her lists and plans to put them in a mommies who hire nannies book. Really? A market for that? She isn’t returning for a Season Two of this show.
- Jackie Gillies is a psychic – what we’d probably call a medium in the US; she is a portal for spirits. She can also pick up on what will happen next. She is the wife of Silverchair drummer and Bento front man, Ben Gillies. She introduces Ben almost in the same way Teresa introduced Juicy to viewers – it’s clear she loves, loves, loves him. He’s absolutely adorable and funny, and loves, loves, loves her. Jackie is just 30 and far younger than the rest of the group. She’s also brand spanking new to Melbourne, having just moved there for the show – and doesn’t have a foot in the door in Melbourne society.
- Chyka Keebaugh is the owner of three event companies, The Big Group, The Design Depot and Capital Kitchen. She’s been married to her husband and business partner since she was 20, and has a Lisa Vanderpump business sense vibe. She’s put together, bright, and determined to brand. She had two children, a daughter in the US, and a son still in school.
Two new housewives will join for Season two – wiki describes them this way:
- Gamble Breaux is a contemporary art collector and consultant, she loves all things beautiful. She believes in always looking your best, even if that means a little nip and tuck. A big dog lover, Gamble is bubbly and fun and always up for a party.
- Pettifleur Berenger is a determined, feisty and glamorous woman who thrives on a life of accomplishment and luxury. She is a successful property developer, lives in a penthouse in the heart of the city and is mother to three fantastic boys.
Episodes One through Six were recapped earlier this week, now we’re on to episodes Seven through Ten
Last we left the ladies, they were finishing up their ‘away’ trip in Cairns at an abandoned resort. Gina left the group a day early after the ‘gang up.’ Back in Melbourne, she regroups and tries to make sense of what happened. It’s every real housewife’s worst nightmare – being ‘the one’ of the season who is on the outs with the rest of them and ostracized. Luckily for Gina, Chyka is still Switzerland, and Jackie doesn’t succumb to peer pressure. Unlucky for Gina is Andrea’s strange powers over Lydia and Janet.
The remainder of the season can be broken down into events, branding (mostly related), shopping, and gossip.
Chyka gets a few more branding opportunities on the show – hosting an annual event for all her clients to show off their new products. Gina phones at the last minute to say she’s coming, and receives a warm reception from Chyka, and an icy one from Lydia and Andrea. Chyka also host a dog party (top that Lisa Vanderpump!) and a shopping spree for a housewares shop that is also a client. Gina, Andrea, and Lydia are the other shoppers, and Andrea and Gina pretty much ignore each other the entire time. We’re also treated to Chyka and Janet going designer dress shopping.
Andrea meets with a book publisher and doesn’t listen to a word the woman says. The publisher suggest starting out with writing a blog to build an audience; Andrea says she’ll go straight to print. She thinks the meeting went well, but decides to self publish (meaning they passed on her book concept). She also hosts a grand opening for her business expansion (doesn’t invite Gina), and does a very strange photo shoot for her book cover, including taking a bunch of photo shots with Lydia where they mock their castmates.
Gina hosts a fundraiser to celebrate 10 years cancer free! She invites everyone but Andrea. Lydia accepts, then cancels, and Lydia and Andrea try to get Janet to cancel – applying heavy peer pressure. Janet doesn’t buckle. She also signs up with a matchmaker and goes on a blind date.
Janet meets with Dr Moss talk about additional operations for her son. Her face is starting to bulge from all the fillers.
And Jackie, sweet Jackie and Ben spend the last few weeks of the season preparing for the launch of their beverage line. They are a hot mess. Remember the She by Sheree launch? Well – it’s not clear if they’ll have any ‘product’ ready for their launch, but they sure have fun together. So far they’ve decided to do a line of cocktails, and worked on their label (a little.) They meet with a mixologist who explains some of the basics, such as the need for a high alcohol content for stability, and basically the difference between bottling cocktails and making them fresh. They also can’t use the bottle they selected. They also learn that they don’t have enough time to get the line bottled in time for their launch party. That doesn’t stop them, and they (with Chyka’s help) decide on their packaging. They also choose a venue for their launch. The bottling alone is going to put them out several hundred thousand dollars, but it’s okay because Ben loves Jackie and will do anything to make her happy.
But all the events are just backdrop for the drama between the ladies. To recap:
Gina insulted Jackie, by telling Lydia that she wasn’t worried about Jackie’s psychic reading because she didn’t believe a word she said. Gina apologized and they were able to move on, but Gina realized she couldn’t trust Lydia to hold her confidence.
At some point Gina sent an email to someone, cc’ing Lydia and Andrea, telling that person to stop talking about something. This was perceived as a threat by Lydia and Andrea.
Gina was late to Andrea’s tennis party, smeared bronzer in the bathroom, and wore high heels on the fancy tennis court.
When confronted by Andrea about her behavior, Gina went into the bathroom and called Lydia and Andrea the c word when talking to Janet. She also said Lydia’s book was probably about two brain cells and a vagina.
Okay – I think that’s the entirety of it. So the last three episodes is just rehashing all of Gina’s terrible crimes – and if you’re wondering what those are – they are listed above. Yup – she’s accused of being late, being messy, and saying a few nasty words in anger after being attacked.
Meanwhile – every single scene Andrea and Lydia are in they are shown making fun of Gina, trashing her, insulting her, mocking her, and then trashing her some more. They make fun of Chyka for staying neutral. Andrea, in particular, has built herself up into a lather and wants everyone to share in the hate fest. Everytime Lydia or Janet relent, she reminds them of all the awful things Gina has done. I sure hope Andrea gets some help. She’s just mean. Lydia is two faced. While not a bright woman, it does seem that at times she realizes that Gina isn’t 100% to blame. Janet just seems scared of being iced out of the mean girls club, but by the end of the season she’s had enough – and decides it’s time to move on.
Somewhere during all of this Gina and Lydia sort of make up, and Gina tells Lydia that Janet had earlier said she hated Lydia and that Lydia was brain dead. Lydia confronts Janet, who sort of confesses to it, and admits to the camera that it was payback for Janet spilling the beans on Gina. But somehow Andrea makes it all Gina’s fault, and again Gina is in the doghouse.
These ladies are a herd of gazelle being chased down by wolves. Andrea is keeping the strongest around her, and trying to leave Gina behind to cull the herd. Thankfully it didn’t work. Gina was surprisingly resilient. It is reminiscent of Season One of BH when Camille was the one being culled. She survived. Season Two was Russell Armstrong’s turn. Season Three it was Adrienne Maloof – she left the show. Season Four they turned on Lisa Vanderpump. She survived. And this season it’s Brandi’s turn.
There are a few more parallels to this season and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
1) The email threatening to sue (Adrienne was Gina; Brandi was Andrea and Lydia)
2) The carrier pigeon causing trouble (Taylor repeating Kyle’s words to Camille; Janet repeating Gina’s words to everyone)
Thankfully, there was no drunkenness or addiction.
And that’s about it for the Real Housewives of Melbourne. The season ends with Jackie and Ben’s product launch, and thankfully, even though they don’t seem to have any bottled product, they have the packaging and can mix up the drinks that they’ve settled on, so it’s not a complete bust. Sweet Jackie tells everyone that dreams can come true, if you marry a rich rock and roll star, and they bankroll your dream of an alcohol product line. With a lot of Jackie’s liquor in their veins, the ladies sort of make up and can joke about the season. They all figure out that their real problem is Janet being two-faced, and at least they can all agree that they don’t trust Janet. One thing accomplished.