We’ve reached the reunion stage of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” and the first of three reunion episodes aired Wednesday — about a year after filming on Season 1 ended.
For the reunion, the Housewives gather in a studio and, egged on by host/executive producer Andy Cohen, rehash what he calls “a wild and wonderful freshman season” and old grievances. And Andy reads mean questions from viewers. Here we go.
Meredith vs. Jen
Round 1 begins with a dimwitted question from a viewer asking Meredith Marks if she was upset when she saw Jen Shah “making fun” of Brooks Marks’ sweatsuit collection. “Were you appalled that an older woman would be picking on a child?”
“One hundred percent,” Meredith says.
This requires clarification. Jen questioned whether several track suits that were the same constituted a collection — a valid point. “That’s just not me being mean,” Jen says.
But Meredith maintains that Jen’s comment “was not out of kindness. So I wasn’t thrilled, because it is my child.”
Further clarification: Brooks is 21, so he’s not a child.
Meredith says Jen “definitely picked on” Brooks on social media. Jen says Meredith is “lying.”
In Round 2, Meredith briefly comes to Jen’s defense against criticism of the party Jen threw way back in Episodes 1 and 2. It was allegedly a birthday party for Meredith, but it came across as being mostly about Jen.
“If somebody is a host, they can choose to host their event however they want,” Meredith says. “The harder part for me was that it was on Lisa’s actual birthday, and I thought the party was going to be for the two of us.” (Lisa Barlow’s birthday is the day after Meredith’s.)
“I don’t feel like Jen did that on purpose,” Lisa Barlow says. But Meredith says it made her “very, very uncomfortable.”
And Heather Gay interjects, “I was grateful that Jen threw the party. Lisa wasn’t throwing a party for Meredith.”
Heather vs. Lisa
“What bothered me the most was not the party,” Lisa says. “It was how some of the girls treated me on my birthday.”
Specifically, how Heather Rose treated her. “I didn’t dismiss Heather. That was Heather dismissing me,” Lisa says.
And then the discussion devolves into loud, angry cross talk between the two. “I’m going to talk for a minute now, so I need you to stop,” Lisa tells a visibly unhappy Heather. They each say the other is dismissive and mean. Lisa calls Heather a “pathological liar” and adds, “Stop talking.” They rehash an old dispute over what happened when they were both Brigham Young University students.
“We’re going to move on,” Andy says. “We’re not going to move on,” Lisa replies, determined to fight this one out. “Because she’s in charge,” Heather says. Andy looks startled.
Lisa continues to dispute Heather’s version of events. Heather says, “I have zero personal friendship with you, but we have been at the same events with the same circle of friends for 20 years.”
Then there’s lots more cross-talk and bleeped-out swearing.
Lisa vs. Whitney
A viewer wants to know what Whitney Rose thinks about Lisa disparaging her obsession with stripper poles and wonders if she’s jealous. “I actually don’t think Lisa’s jealous of me. I think she just thinks she’s better than me,” Whitney says.
“I don’t think that. … I’ve never said that. I don’t feel that way,” Lisa says.
“She’s constantly, time after time, calling me trash,” Whitney says. Not true, Lisa replies. “I called you trash once.”
Mary vs. a viewer
When a viewer questions Mary Cosby’s fashion sense because of the unusual dress she wore to Meredith’s birthday party — the viewer said she looked like “an ’80s reject” — Mary strikes back.
“It’s not for everyone. And everyone cannot fit into that dress and everyone cannot pull it off,” she says.
In response to a viewer question, Jen says she’s still planning to have plastic surgery on her knees. But, she insists, “I haven’t had plastic surgery done on my face” — except when her teenage son, as a baby, accidentally head-butted her and broke her nose. Other than that, it’s just been “fillers and Botox and stuff.”
The other women are asked if they’ve had any work done, and only 34-year-old Whitney replies. She, too, has had Botox, filler in her lips — and, since Season 1 finished filming, her breasts are now “higher.”
Jen and the football coach
Jen says that she and her husband, University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah, “are not having marital issues.” And she says he has to spend more time away from his family because he’s not the head coach of the Utes.
It’s “the assistant coaches that are out all the time, recruiting if the season’s [over],” she says. “It’s part of the job. And I signed up for it, but I didn’t realize it at the time until it was really, you know, affecting me. And I didn’t even know that I was holding that much resentment.”
Resentment because Sharrieff was with the team for a game at the University of Washington when her father died. “When he came home, I was mad,” Jen said. “I think I grabbed all his stuff and was, like, get the F out. Don’t come back.”
Jen vs. a viewer
Clearly hoping to get a rise out of Jen, Andy reads this viewer question: “For a woman in her 50s, you throw a lot of tantrums like a 5-year-old. What kind of example are you setting for your kids?” And that takes Jen aback.
“Well, first of all, I’m not in my 50s,” says the 47-year-old.
“I was going through a lot and I wasn’t proud of ... all of the things that I did or how I acted or communicated. But you know what? [Expletive] happens when you’re going through [expletive].”
Mary vs. Jen and Lisa
Mary interjects to make it about her. “I think she’s more temperamental at me than anybody else,” she says. “When my name comes, it’s a trigger.”
“I disagree with that,” Lisa says. As does Jen.
“When she gets upset when your name is said, it usually doesn’t have anything to do with you,” Lisa says.
It’s hard to tell because there’s so much talking over each other, but Mary seems to be saying that what she meant — when she claimed Lisa and Meredith both said they were afraid of Jen — was that Lisa was saying she didn’t understand why Jen gets mad at Mary “every single time.”
If that’s the case, the stories don’t match. She’s changing her story because she’s been called out as a liar.
Jen vs. Heather
A viewer wants to know if Jen ever apologized for screaming at Heather outside the 1920s-themed party, “when you were only trying to help her drunk a-- get home.” Heather says she did not — and Jen immediately apologizes.
Andy gives Jen a condescending grin and questions whether her apology was “heartfelt.” Jen insists it was, and then Heather questions her sincerity.
“I don’t know why she’s holding back and not just being, like, I [expletive] love you and you’re a good friend,” Heather says.
Andy drops his attack on Jen’s sincerity and insists he laughed at her because “I just think it’s funny that that was a year ago and the apology is just coming now.”
Mary injects herself again, telling Heather that Jen is not her friend and she should not be Jen’s friend. “You choose a friend that’s a friend back to you,” she says.
“Maybe you should take your own advice,” Jen tells Mary.
“I don’t want to be friends with you. That’s the difference,” Mary shoots back. “You understand that?”
Clearly, Jen has no interest in being Mary’s friend.
Meredith vs. Jen — again
Meredith and Jen rehash the incident when Jen, who was not wearing underwear, was doing high kicks at Meredith’s house in front of two of her children, Brooks and Chloe, 18.
“I don’t think you were intentionally trying to rattle my children. I don’t think that at all,” Meredith says. “But ... then there were the high leg kicks and no underwear and that was that.”
Meredith says she wasn’t looking for an apology, she just wanted Jen to say, “Meredith, I would never want to see your kids uncomfortable.” And Jen says that, at the time, she had no idea Brooks and Chloe were uncomfortable.
Meredith says her kids saw Jen’s vagina during the high kicks; Jen says she didn’t know they did. Jen says the only time she saw Brooks upset that night was when he saw his mother smoking. “That’s why he was mad. Not because of me,” Jen says.
“Oh, no, honey. Try again,” Meredith replies. Then she says Jen attacked Brooks on social media “calling him white privileged.” (Which isn’t exactly true. Jen denied she showed off her private parts in a post, and alleged that she was being criticized because of what “a white privelaged (sic) family tells you.”)
When Jen says she never attacked Brooks, Mary interjects, “Well, you did say you think he’d never even seen a vagina, so that is kind of picking on him.” (Mary either doesn’t realize that Brooks is openly gay or she doesn’t know what that means.)
And then it takes a weird turn when Meredith alleges that Jen recorded her smoking without her “knowledge or consent.” Jen denies it. “That is insane.” (Meredith says she smokes “once in a blue moon.”)
Mary vs. Jen and Heather and Lisa
“I think we’ve always sympathized with Jen,” Heather says.
“Except me,” Mary interjects, making faces. “I just get attacked. They understand the malicious treatment I get, but they seem to run to her rescue.”
Heather shakes her head in disagreement, and Lisa tells Mary she’s “snarky and not nice. I am kind to both of you.”
“You’re not kind to me,” Mary insists. And then Mary objects to Lisa gesturing with her hands. Which somehow sets off another argument between Heather and Lisa.
Mary insists that Lisa “doesn’t care for me.” Lisa says she checks on her “all the time” and has encouraged Jen to make peace with her.
“Lisa, you’re so quick to jump in,” says Mary, who has been jumping in at every chance. “Worry about yourself.”
Lisa vs. a viewer
Andy reads a question from a viewer who wants to know why Lisa didn’t answer a call from her kids while she was setting up a Sundance party. “Is your ambition more important than your family?”
“We have a nanny. We have a concierge doctor on call. Plus, I’m married to an amazing guy that actually likes being involved in our kids’ life,” Lisa says. “My kids are everything to me, everything. If you want to make me cry, talk about my children.”
Mary, Whitney and Heather vs. Lisa
“You do come across as snobby,” Mary says. “You do come across [like] you have a stick up your butt.”
Lisa says she’s “open” to Mary’s “constructive criticism.” Mary says her “stick up the butt” comment “should be a blessing” for Lisa.
“I think people misinterpret direct as cold and bitchy,” Lisa says, adding that she’s tried to be nice to Whitney.
“You don’t see yourself as being rude or condescending, but it’s landing that way,” Whitney says.
Heather injects herself into this argument, and dismisses Lisa’s kind words about her in an interview. “For you to say nice things about me is not some benevolent gift from the queen of the world.”
“I am nice to you, Heather,” Lisa repeats again and again as Heather continues to berate her.
At that point we hear from Mary who — minutes after insisting Lisa lower her hand — wags her finger at Jen. “I’m also a confident person as well,” Mary says. “But I don’t make people feel less than.”
“Oh, you do,” Lisa replies. And when Mary asks her who she’s done that to, Lisa says Jen and “people at your church.”
“Don’t bring up my church,” Mary says. “Nobody’s bringing up your alcohol. I’m not a confrontational person. I’m not a person who’s going to take someone down.”
Except that we saw Mary being condescending and at least borderline mean to members of her church choir in an earlier episode. In addition to repeatedly being condescending and mean to Jen, who returned the favor.
Meredith comes to Lisa’s defense. “I think that Lisa could say the same exact thing to me in the same tone of voice, the same words,” she says, “and say it maybe to Whitney and it will be interpreted completely different.”
Lisa vs. Whitney
A viewer asks why Lisa got angry at Whitney when Whitney told her about the trouble she had with bartenders Lisa hired. “Wouldn’t you want to know how your employees are representing your brand?”
The bartenders don’t work for VIDA Tequila, Lisa says, they’re contract employees she hired at a cost of “a little under two grand” as a gift to Whitney for her wedding vow renewal. And she was “happy to do it.”
“I can afford my own bar,” Whitney says, adding that she wanted “to invite VIDA there to show women supporting women and be, like, ‘Lisa, this is an olive branch. I hope you take it so we can build a relationship.’”
Lisa says she didn’t know that, and points to text messages Whitney sent her that indicated otherwise. Whitney whips out printed out copies of those texts, but they’re illegible. Really.
“This is a bad Xerox, babe,” Andy says.
There’s more arguing and cross talk, and Heather and Lisa both say they’ve been traumatized by the other. Mary asserts that Heather clearly cares about Lisa, although we haven’t seen evidence of that, and Lisa replies, “If that’s her way of caring about me — wow.”
And, oddly, Mary adds, “I don’t think Heather likes me, either.”
Heather calls Lisa “rude, dismissive, manipulative. I think you lie.” And Lisa replies in kind.
Andy wants to know if they want to be friends with each other. Lisa immediately says, “No.” Repeatedly.
“I absolutely do not want to be enemies and I want to champion her in every way I can,” Heather says. “But it’s very difficult.”
Lisa insists she has tried repeatedly to be friends with Heather, leaving her voicemail after voicemail, but it’s “exhausting. ... I give up. I have only so much energy to give. ... If you want to keep coming for me, come for me. You’re missing out because I actually have a lot to offer.”
“You have not offered friendship to me,” Heather says.
“Lies, lies, lies,” Lisa replies. And she blames Heather for the mean messages she’s been getting on social media.
It is, indeed, exhausting. And, if the previews for next week are any indication, the fights are only going to get worse.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine how these women could co-exist in the second season.
Episode 15 (Part 2 of the reunion) debuts Wednesday on Bravo — 8 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 11 p.m. on Comcast.