‘The Real Housewives of Melbourne,’ 2×1: Fresh Start, New Faces


Besides my college graduation and moving to New York, there is no event I have anticipated so greatly as the return of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. Last night, it finally happened—because in case you missed the news, Bravo moved the show from its crummy Sunday afternoon time slot to Thursday night prime time, baby. This show is that good.

Let’s begin! The episode starts with Chyka, Jackie and Lydia meeting for lunch. I guess they haven’t seen each other in a while, because everyone’s stunned by Lydia’s weight loss. Lydia claims that all it took was portion control, but later on, she reveals she drinks eight cups of coffee a day. The only conclusion I can draw is that Lydia spends 80 percent of her day pooping.

Lydia wasn’t a major player on Season 1, but she must be looking to step up her game. When it’s time to order, she asks the waiter for a “wet pussy,” which might be some kind of shot, but might not be. We don’t find out. Then, she whips out her phone and starts yelling at her personal assistant, who’s responsible for doing all her shopping. Apparently, the PA bought shampoo instead of conditioner.

"Shampoo? Is she F***ING kidding me?!"
“Shampoo? Is she F***ING kidding me?!”

As the other ladies look on, shocked, Lydia explains she’s simply too busy in the bathroom preparing for her son’s wedding, and taking care of her dog, Figaro, to do her own shopping. Imagine how busy she’d be if she actually had a job!

Meanwhile, Janet—the show’s resident sabertooth tiger—is rushing around planning her birthday party. True to her sabertooth tiger form, the party-planning involves consulting a lot of young men, all of whom—regardless of sexuality—appear to be passionately in love with her. There’s Carlos, who’s providing the venue; there’s Patrick, who’s doing Janet’s hair and helping her choose an outfit; there’s Chris, who’s making the cake.

They’re like the mice in Cinderella, except way more dramatic—evidenced by Patrick’s penchant for really intense facial expressions and general body movements.

"Hello, darling."
“Hello, darling.”
"oh hey gurl"
“oh hey gurl”
"whats up?"
“whats up?”

Despite all her helpful man-friends, there’s one problem only Janet can tackle: whether to invite Gina—with whom she had a massive fight at the end of last season—to the party. Janet ultimately decides to extend the invitation, because the producers slowly dragged their fingers across their throats and mouthed “do it” she wants to start fresh.

Speaking of Gina, she’s going to meet her sister, Bettina (do all the Liano children’s names rhyme?!) for lunch—a journey that totally un-coincidentally involves her walking under this awning:

How completely unplanned.
How completely unplanned.

At lunch, Gina reveals that she’s back together with her long-distance boyfriend, who lives in L.A. She’d eventually like to join him there, she says. Dear Bravo, please let Gina and Jackie both join The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Meanwhile, with the help of her mom, Lena, Lydia is getting ready for Janet’s party. Part of her outfit is a necklace that says “wow”—her go-to word, according to Season 1’s reunion special. This necklace makes me nervous: are the Melbourne Real Housewives becoming too self-aware? HAVE THEY REALIZED WE’RE WATCHING THEM?!

Anyway, Lydia tells her mom she’s ready to repair her relationship with Gina, and then they take a selfie as Figaro watches, wide-eyed. “They’re distracted—is now a good time to escape?” he asks himself, terrified.

"omg we're so hot"
“omg we’re so hot”
"help me"
“help me”

Finally, it’s time for Janet’s b-day bash! While the champagne’s flowing in Jackie and Chyka’s limo, the same is not true for Gina and Lydia’s limo, where, after a really long, uncomfortable period of silence, Gina makes an odd attempt at rekindling their friendship: asking Lydia how her husband, Andrew, is—because she’s heard from three independent sources that they’ve separated. #Friends4eva #BFFAEAE!!!!!

"i'm completely ready to make up with Lydia"
“i’m completely ready to make up with Lydia”
"so.......................i heard your marriage is failing."
“so…………………..i heard your marriage is failing.”

And now, for the moment you—or maybe just I—have been waiting for: the introduction of this season’s two new housewives, Gamble and Pettifleur. The cool thing about Gamble and Pettifleur is that THEY ARE ACTUALLY NAMED GAMBLE AND PETTIFLEUR. This is not a drill.

Gamble is part Australian housewife, part Valley Girl, part cyborg. Her name, she says, comes from the Shakespearean word that means to run around, carefree. I feel bad, because maybe no one’s told her she’s spelling it wrong.

Let’s run through some things we learn about Gamble. Her eyelashes are the “most important thing in the world” to her, which is rather sad news for her boyfriend and stepson. She also enjoys painting pictures of flowers, riding on boats, Botox, her dog named “Cat,” and doing this:

"brb gotta ribbon dance next to this pool"
“brb gotta ribbon dance next to this pool”

What does Gamble dislike, you ask? Mainly, food. “My life motto is to calorie count,” she tells the camera, before asking her boyfriend if he’d like frozen peas with Tabasco sauce for dinner.

If Gamble’s a little strange, it’s nothing compared to Pettifleur, who makes me feel downright disturbed. At first I think I like her, because she’s a high-powered property developer who yells at a lot of subordinate men. But then we see a clip of her at home, preparing for dinner, where she’s mercilessly shouting at someone I can only deduce is an elderly, mute housekeeper. Now I think Pettifleur might be a monster. Or, like, the female, Sri-Lankan-Australian version of Christian Grey.


My fears are confirmed at Janet’s party, when Pettifleur sees Gamble. The two already know each other. Right off the bat, Pettifleur criticizes Gamble’s choice of earrings and dress, and it’s sad. Gamble doesn’t really even fight back—like she’s the sensitive, never-good-enough kid getting scolded by an abusive parent. It’s really uncomfortable.

"I thought u liked these earrings"
“I thought u liked these earrings”
"you thought wrong, biatch"
“you thought wrong, biatch”

Thankfully, though, Gamble becomes friends—or maybe more than friends—with Gina. “I like petting you and your fur,” Gamble tells Gina, while literally petting her. “If I was gay I’d turn for her,” Gamble tells the camera.

Elsewhere at the party, other nice things are happening, too. Janet’s son Jake, who was severely burned in a fire, shows up, and Janet is really excited and emotional; apparently he hasn’t been out much since his accident, so this is a big deal. Yay Jake!

Finally, the beautiful cake is wheeled in. Unfortunately it contains calories—being a food, and all—so everyone just keeps dancing instead.

In the days following the party, new BFFs Gamble and Gina meet for lunch. Gamble tells Gina that the other housewives were gossiping about her at the party, and Gina is surprised—weren’t they all supposed to be starting fresh? Gamble presents Gina with a gift—a crucifix and an evil eye—and announces that she’s totes #teamgina, and that Gina has her unwavering loyalty. I like anyone who likes Gina, but I don’t know—there’s something uncomfortable about this, like Gamble’s just desperate for other people’s approval.

Last but not least, Janet meets up with Carlos and his pet pig (OMG Australia is so weird) in the park. Janet, like, toooootally doesn’t want to spread rumors, but there’s this piece of gossip she heard about Gamble, and she wants to know if Carlos has heard it, too. Not that she, like, wants to spread rumors or anything.

"is that a pig or are you just happy to see me?"
“is that a pig or are you just happy to see me?”

Oh man, what is this juicy piece of gossip? We’ll have to wait till next week to find out—unless, of course, Janet decides not to spread the rumor. Which she won’t. ‘The Real Housewives of Melbourne,’ 2×1: Fresh Start, New Faces