The three wannabes on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” have clearly decided that the way to move into a regular role on the Bravo series is to take on departing cast member Jen Shah, who’s headed for prison. (After pleading guilty to federal fraud charges, Jen is facing 14-30 years when she’s sentenced later this month.)
Following in the footsteps of Angie Harrington and Danna Bui-Negrete, Angie Katsanevas goes all in on that strategy in the latest episode, going waaaay over the top in a play to draw attention to herself. Earlier this season, viewers saw Angie K. happily volunteer to host a birthday party for Jen’s husband; this week, Angie K. accuses Jen of swindling her into paying for the party.
The Nov. 30 episode was filmed three months before Jen was supposed to go on trial. As the episode begins, she makes another play for sympathy, telling viewers she has dealt with depression for her “whole life,” and that she started taking antidepressants after the death of her father.
“And I felt like I got to a good place until I got indicted,” she says, but her life has been a “living hell’ since then.
Heather and Angie H. and Danna
Heather Gay meets Angie H. and Danna at the Beaumont Bakery & Cafe in Millcreek, and the topic of conversation quickly turns to Jen. Danna tells them about about what happened in the previous episode, when she called Jen out for being rude to Angie H. (which Angie H. totally deserved), and Jen made a point of NOT inviting her to the San Diego outing.
Danna says she told Jen, “Yes, I did call you a bully. I don’t like the way that you talk to people. You’re very disrespectful and you’re very rude.” All true. But Danna was pointing specifically to Jen’s behavior toward Angie H., who totally deserved it.
It’s the first Angie H. has heard about the San Diego trip, and she quickly realizes she has not been invited.
Heather and Angie H. are both surprised that Meredith Marks invited Danna on a trip that Jen is organizing. “So you’re the guest of a guest?” Heather asks. Angie H. says, “Danna, you’ve left your street smarts at the door.”
“Jen is very aggressive, very loud,” Danna says. “I don’t know if you guys just, like, don’t see it or recognize it. Kind of just put up with that. I do not like it.”
Has Danna ever watched “Real Housewives”? The producers — and viewers — love loud, aggressive women. Heather, however, says she is “over it.” In a confessional, Heather says, “Jen follows a different set of friendship rules, and it’s either ride-or-die loyalty, or I will burn you alive.”
As for the trip, “I don’t know if I even want to go at all,” Given that she’s fighting with three of the other four Housewives — Jen, Whitney Rose and Lisa Barlow — that’s no surprise.
Meredith visits Jen
Jen offers Meredith “a Middle Eastern tea, because it’s Ramadan right now,, but I’m not fasting today.” Because her husband, University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah, told her not to because it would make her sick.
Jen hasn’t talked much about her Muslim faith, but she says in a confessional, “One of the things that’s helped me get through this last year and a half and everything I’m dealing with is my relationship with Allah.” She says Ramadan is “a time of reflection and fasting and prayer. You ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven for your sins.” Jen tells Meredith it’s “the month where I have to be calm” and avoid “fighting with people.”
Meredith is thrilled to hear this, because she’s there to ask Jen to let Danna come on the San Diego trip. Meredith says she believes Danna’s “intention is good. I think it was just really bad at communication all the way around.” (Not sure where she got the idea that Danna’s intention was good — she was slapping Jen down.)
“I know how Jen cools down and it usually pretty reasonable when you sit down and chat with her,” Meredith says in a confessional. “So I’m crossing my fingers on this one that I’ll get it done.” After a bit of back-and-forth, Jen gives her OK to inviting Danna. And she appoints Meredith as the “CEO of Fun” for the trip.
Jen says that with the trial approaching, she’s “up and down … like this daily roller coaster.” And then the producers cut to a conversation between Jen and Sharrieff a week earlier — Jen says another $200,000 payment is due to her lawyers. She’s concerned about that because Sharrieff Jr. is going to medical school. Sharrieff says, “It’s a lot.”
Jen and Angie K. plan the trip
“It’s kind of a collaboration of our two cultures,” Angie K. says. “It’s, like, a Greek and Tongan hosted party.”
Angie K. is going to find a Greek caterer and Jen is planning a luau, complete with fire dancers. The two seem totally chummy.
Meanwhile, Whitney frets about going on the trip with her former bestie, Heather, with whom she is feuding. She speculates that Heather will “lead with jokes and fun and laughter and act like nothing ever happened. And I’m going to smile and be nice. And then something’s going to trigger and I’m going to lose my [expletive].”
Asked by her husband what she thinks she’ll get out of this trip, Whitney replies, “A migraine.”
The trip begins
For reasons not explained, Jen is allowed to use the flight attendants’ audio system and address the other passengers. “Hello, passengers,” she says. “This is the Queen Bee and MVP of Salt Lake City. Thank you so much, and we’ll see you in sunny San Diego.”
As CEO of Fun, Meredith issues orders that there will be no locked doors on this trip. Heather replies, “How am I going to masturbate?”
Meredith says that she’s enforcing the fun rules. Jen outlines those rules: No. 1: Have fun. No. 2: Have fun. No. 3: “Don’t be a bitch, unless you’re a fun bitch.” And Jen’s definition of a “fun bitch” is “You say [expletive] you with your [breasts] out.”
Angie K. takes command
The women arrive at a gorgeous San Diego home that belongs to one of Angie K.’s friends, and Angie K. leads a tour that feels sort of like a forced march. And there’s clearly tension between Angie H. and Jen during the house tour. Whitney says, “The fact that you two don’t break out in a fight every second blows my mind.” Angie H. says, “I just blow her off.” Jen is not pleased.
The tour arrives at the fabulous master suite, which Angie H. declares is “my room.” Jen asks, “Are you in charge? Who’s in charge?” In a confessional, Whitney says, “I’m kind of feeling like maybe we should give Jen the master because there is a big possibility that she might be spending the next couple of years in a 6-by-9-foot jail cell.”
Jen expresses her displeasure directly to Angie K. “I [expletive] planned this [expletive], and you get the best room?” And in a confessional, Jen says, “Earth to Angie. The person that plans the entire girls trip gets the master bedroom. Not you, sidepiece.”
Jen starts to make an announcement about what their plans are, and Angie K. interrupts. Jen offers to turn the announcement over to Angie K., “because you really [expletive] up the room situation.” Angie replies, “Alright, bitch, you take over because you’re the pro.”
The world’s most dramatic drink pour
When Jen tries to talk and Angie K. interrupts her, things get totally out of hand. Jen pours some champagne on Angie H’s head, a bomb that blows up the trip.
“Oh my God. Jen is so demeaning,” Lisa says in a confessional.
In a confessional of her own, Heather says, “Angie is standing there like Sissy Spacek in ‘Carrie’ with a bucket of pig blood” poured on her. “I would classify this as a Rule No. 3 fun bitch move.”
Whitney says, “That is just a bitch move.” Later, she adds, “It’s kind of like when my dogs marked their territory. Like, she’s lifting her leg and peeing on Angie’s head.”
Jen and Angie H. argue about whether it was funny. Jen grabs Angie H.’s drink and pours it on her own head to demonstrate, apparently, that it’s all in fun. Angie H. says she’s upset because Jen “soaked” her hair “and I blew it out to go out tonight.” And she has only three hours to blow it out again.
“I’m sorry,” Jen said. “I thought I could joke around with you.” However, the Great Drink Pour looked less like having fun and more like a power move made in annoyance. Angie H. says she’s good, but she’s clearly not.
In a confessional, Meredith says, “Everyone has different levels of what they find to be fun. And apparently Angie doesn’t like having anything poured on her. So — noted.”
Jen tells the women they’re going to go on a yacht.
Angie K. goes on the attack
Angie H. tells Lisa that Jen is clearly “on edge. … I think she feels like I’m taking over. All I’m trying to do is help.” What viewers just saw, however, looked 100% like Angie H. was taking over.
Jen says it was all in fun and had nothing to do with Angie H. taking command and taking the best room. It’s not believable.
“To have your friend do that to you in front of a whole group of people is so awful,” Lisa says. “I feel like I’ve been conditioned as Jen’s friend to not call her out on her bad behavior.”
And then things go really off the rails. Angie K. accuses Jen of swindling her by not repaying her for the cost of Sharrieff’s birthday party, seen earlier this season. According to Angie, in addition to opening up her home and planning the party, she spent $15,000 — $3,000 for flowers; $4,000 for the bar; $600 for the cake; $750 for the piano; $4,000 for the catering; $1,500 for the dance floor; $500 for cleanup; $900 for dancers; $3,000 for casino tables; $1,500 for tables; $4,000 for appetizers.
“And how much money did I get from Jen Shah? Zero,” Angie K. says. “After what just happened, she’ll be getting a bill from me when we get home.”
The items she listed — which may not have been the full list and might have been repetitive ($4,000 for catering and $4,000 for appetizers?) — totaled $23,750, by the way.
Jen “needs to just grow the [expletive] up,” says Angie K., who’s freaking out over having champagne poured in her hair. “She continues to want people to support her, but yet she continues to dig herself into a deeper and deeper hole. She continues to show people this immature behavior. I’m done doing those kind of favors for her.”
Heather is on Jen’s side
Danna tells Heather she should’ve called Jen out for pouring the drink on Angie K. “What am I supposed to do?” Heather asks. “Swat the champagne flute out of her hand?” And, furthermore, “I kind of agree with her,” Heather says.
In a confessional, Heather says she is secretly thrilled by all of this, because it takes the attention off of her. “And now, with the fortuitous swish of a tablespoon of champagne, the tide has turned. Maybe now this trip won’t be about how [expletive] of a friend I am, instead it will be about someone else.”
Heather tells Danna she knows “that you want to stand up for truth and righteousness. I get it. Listen, you’re a guest of a guest. Do not take up with the hostess.” She advises Danna to “pick your battles wisely.”
In a confessional, Danna says, “The loyalty runs pretty deep with Jen and these ladies. Like, does Jen have something over them?”
In a phone call with her husband, Shawn, Angie K. says, “The very thing as [Jen] is … being accused of right now is conning people out of money. And somehow I just feel like I’ve just got conned out of thousands of dollars throwing a party for her husband.” And, she adds tearfully, “It wasn’t even worth it. It’d be one thing and she appreciated it, but she doesn’t.”
In a confessional, Jen says she feels that Angie K. should’ve come and talked to her. It doesn’t occur to Jen that maybe she should go talk to Angie K. So there is tension and bad blood when they all get on a shuttle bus to go to the yacht.
How tense is it? “It is like if I had a zit on my forehead, it’d pop itself.”
Another battle on a shuttle bus
“People get mad because I just speak the truth and it’s an issue,” says Jen — a perspective it’s unlikely any of the other women share.
Angie K. says Jen should stop making everyone uncomfortable. Jen tells Angie K. she should apologize to her. Angie K. tell Jen she’s the one who should apologize. Jen apologizes for the drink dump, but maintains it was “a joke” and “not that big of a deal.”
It was pretty obnoxious, but it really wasn’t that big a deal. Except to Angie. K. Although, when Angie K. asks the women to raise their hands if they thought it was funny, nobody does. Except, of course, Jen.
Angie K. picks this moment to go after Jen about Sharrieff’s party. “I had to plan the whole [expletive] party. And I paid for that entire party.” Jen replies, “No, you did not.”
It’s worth pointing out that before the Great Drink Dump, Angie K. had offered no complaints about the party. Heather recalls Angie K. offering her home for Sharrieff’s party, and there are clips of her enthusiastically doing just that. “To unload it like that in front of all of us feels like a sucker punch,” Heather says. “It feels mean. And it feels ugly.”
According to Jen, she had no plans to throw Sharrieff’s party at Angie K.’s house until she offered. Angie K. even hosted a food tasting for the party, and there’s video of that, too. “She’s a [expletive] liar,” Jen says.
Angie K. continues to go ballistic over the Drink Dump. ”Today was a tipping point for me,” she tells Jen, “with you dumping a drink on my head in front of our friends. It was embarrassing for you. It’s [expletive] humiliating for me.” She starts wagging her finger at Jen, saying, “I’m a [expletive] respected woman.” Jen replies, “So am I.”
And Angie K. goes all in: “Are you? How come you can’t keep a [expletive] friendship then, with anybody?” And, although we’ve seen video of her Angie K. happily planning Sharrieff’s party, she insists, “I was supposed to open up my house, not open up my wallet.”
Angie K. says Jen has not thanked or reimbursed her. Jen points out she gave Angie K. a $5,000 necklace (there’s video of that), which Angie K. says she plans to return: “The last thing I want to do is keep this necklace and be in public and have the Southern District of New York find me and take the necklace off my neck.”
Angie K. demands that Jen thank her for throwing the party. Jen starts to thank her, and Angie K. cuts her off and says it’s too late.
Jen says Angie K. never sent her a bill for the party. “Damn,” Jen says in a confessional. “I wish I got that memo three years ago because I could have sent Meredith Marks and her family an invoice for $80,000. But that’s not what you do when you actually host a [expletive] party.”
(Jen hosted a birthday party for Meredith in the first episodes of Season 1.)
A yacht named Champagne
The women arrive at the yacht, which is appropriately named. Angie K. says her attack on Jen came at what “probably wasn’t the right time, but when was the right time?”
Heather immediately has the hots for the young yacht captain, Drew. “I’m ready to drive this ship into an iceberg,” he says in a confessional, “if it means I’m going to be hanging on a door with Captain Drew.” And Heather tells the cocktail waitress, “I want a drink that tastes as good as your boobs look.”
Jen says she did not ask Angie K. to host Sharrieff’s party, adding that Angie K “is coming at me at my most vulnerable time. [Expletive] you, Angie! She’s fake as [expletive]. … Do you know how many connections we have? We can host his [expletive] party at the Rice-Eccles Stadium.”
Jen is on a rampage, and, in a confessional, Meredith says, “I’m concerned for Jen. I know that she is not in a very great mental state and having it be exacerbated by friends who are not very supportive, you know, she’s trying to numb herself. I feel like she is hitting a breaking point. Really, very, very unsettling. It’s frightening.”
The next episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” airs Wednesday, Dec. 7, on Bravo — 7 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 10 p.m. on Comcast. Previous episodes can be streamed via Peacock or on demand.
Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.