The Real Housewives Of Dallas Throws One Last Party
Drinking? Check. Poop talk? Check. Wondering if anything actually happened this season? Check.
This will maybe be the only time The Real Housewives Of Dallas and Fargo are mentioned in the same breath. But the end of this half-season, like the most recent season finale of Fargo, offered a dénouement, after a lot of violence and craziness, and a strange little meditation on relationships. I was also thinking that a poop hat would probably actually fit in really well on Fargo too, but that's because there was a lot of time to think during this episode. (I should have followed Stephanie's party-planning advice and doubled up on the booze.) Before we get on I-35 out of Dallas, let's look back on the season for each Housewife.
The episode opens with Stephanie and Travis lounging in bed as they plan their annual big, drunken party for the Byron Nelson golf tournament, which is essentially in their back yard. Stephanie is crazy-pretty in her PJs with her freshly washed face. She must be using some potent skin care to counteract how badly doing a tour of duty as a Housewife must age a gal. Travis, meanwhile, looks like a young Newt Gingrich in repose. But for the first time, he doesn't seem quite as bad. I mean, don't get me wrong: he's still Travis. But I started entertaining the thought that he is not a literal monster. Maybe my heart is still open from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tonys speech. Or maybe I -- someone who had two hours before shared a Google Doc with my husband running down our travel through next March and the arrangements we still needed to make -- couldn't judge Travis and his party-planning list. It completely pushes Stephanie's buttons, though, and she tells him that she can make it all happen without a list. And she does. And she's not having sex with him that night because he'd pass out on top of her and die. Even with all the pre-party dog poop cleanup, Steph is winning. She's more sure of herself than she was at the start of the season and she still has her true-blue wackadoo best friend.
I came into RHODallas with Housewives secondary virginity: I hadn't partaken since Season 1 of RHONJ. I was mostly innocent to their ways, and I assumed there would be nothing but backstabbing -- with, perhaps, even a few actual drunken knife lunges thrown in. So one of the things I liked about this season was the goofy steadfastness of Brandi and Stephanie. Nothing came between them: not the poop hat, the controversy over the LeeAnne pooping story, the cleanup of dog poop in Stephanie's yard. Can all of us say that our friendships would survive so much?
I'm still iffy on Brandi's other key relationship: her marriage with Bryan. He's clearly trying this week when he and Brandi and their girls hit the bowling alley, and when he encourages her to invite her family over for July 4th. But there are hints that trouble will be revealed in the upcoming reunion, and there's a weird scene with the girls' pet bunny, which -- you guessed it -- has been pooping errantly. So Brooklyn and Brinkley are chasing the bunny, and the dog is chasing it, until Brandi finally catches the bunny and cradles it, while saying on the voiceover that she isn't sure Bryan wants to love on the bunny or that he even wants it. Is Brandy the bunny? I feel like I need to unpack this more.
Tiffany was the least interesting Housewife when this whole misadventure kicked off. She started out wanting to make her place in Dallas social scene and persuade Aaron to get past his visceral distaste for the city and put down roots there with her. I thought we might wrap things up with Aaron telling her he desperately wanted to go back to L.A., but they go on another round of house-hunting with their intense Realtor Cortney, who speaks a lot in terms of fire and explosions. Also, Dallas might be about 50% Courtneys/Cortneys/Courtnees. I had forgotten that Realtor Courtney isn't the same Courtney who went to the lake house of the damned with them. Just when you think Aaron is going to fall weeping on the sidewalk and beg to move anywhere else, Aaron tells her he'll stay in Dallas, and that they should try for the house. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that they don't get it, though, and that Aaron wrote a song about it. So we should have no worries about his music career.
While Tiffany gets a victory with Aaron, the friend part isn't going as well. And it's not a matter of LeeAnne messing things up for her. Tiffany is a lot more defiant about LeeAnne's behavior in Austin than an embarrassed LeeAnne is herself. Cary is done with her. Tiffany also tries to make the case that no, she's done with Cary, but I'm betting Cary called it on their friendship first. Brandi and Stephanie wisely see that there's some sort of weird history coloring the current situation with LeeAnne, Marie and Tiffany and decide to stay out of it.
After all the LeeAnne and Brandi conflict in the first part of the season, the LeeAnne/Cary feud has never grabbed me. It just feels more theoretical than personal. LeeAnne has been spreading her belief that Cary broke up Mark's previous marriage, which was to a friend of LeeAnne's. Cary isn't eager to see her at Stephanie's Byron Nelson party, and Mark tries to talk her out of going. In what is a good episode for the RHODallas husbands, Mark even manages to leave all the uncomfortable sex talk to Travis this week. But she does go, of course, and decides just to have it out with LeeAnne. She does the worst thing you can do to LeeAnne, disparaging her story, and LeeAnne quickly escalates things up to calling her evil. But luckily, as Stephanie points out, the party is a drunken shitshow, so no one really seems to notice. They weren't missing anything. Without any payoff or stakes, their conflict was probably a whole lot less interesting than whatever fart jokes Brandi and Stephanie were making in the other room.
Remember back when Brandi, Stephanie, and even Cary seemed scared of LeeAnne? After hitting bottom in Austin, now LeeAnne is nervous about Stephanie's Byron Nelson party, and determined to be on good behavior. She's realizing she needs to get help for her anger issues. (In an apparently unrelated issue, I think she also sees ghosts -- at least judging by her facial expressions when she was weighlifting during the gym scene.) But that's not stopping her plans to move forward as a motivational speaker. At her meeting with a PR firm, she tells them about all the inspirational booklets she's released (all featuring her on the cover), and they start filling her head with visions of five-figure speaker fees. I'm not taken with LeeAnne's business plan of farting glitter or burping angels or whatever she has planned, but I hope she gets it together. When she says goodbye to Brandi at the party, they talk a little wistfully about how they were starting to hit it off, and LeeAnne proclaims in her loud, awkward way that she's going to change. According to the postscript, she did go to anger counseling. We'll see how it went at the reunion.