Tuesday, February 27, 2024 Feb 27, 2024
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The Real Housewives of Dallas Recap: Manipulation Station

Let's not bring Laura Bush into this.
By Caitlin Clark |
Jonathan Zizzo/Bravo

You know how I mentioned how the internet thinks that RHOD’s dangerously low ratings aren’t deserved? Remember how I could never find anything in season four to back that up, mainly because it’s just been fine? This three-episode arc in Thailand was… pretty good! It’s no Scary Island, but for the first time in weeks, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing the continuation of storylines. Am a thrilled that one of those storylines had to involve upsetting racial slurs. I am not! But again, “This is sociology.” Like Rihanna says, “This is what you came for.” I continue to hate myself.

Apart from the Mexican comments (I can’t believe I even have to type that), this episode was like some sort of weird wish fulfillment situation. Here’s Kameron, arguing effectively with LeeAnne and making sense. This is what I’ve always wanted for her. Brandi and Stephanie, a touching reality TV love story, get a hot poolside date. D’Andra tells LeeAnne not to snap. (Like, literally snap her fingers.) Everyone eloquently explains exactly what’s on their mind (mostly). Someone even evoked Dallas’ Laura Bush! How has that never happened before?

Apart from Brandi and Stephanie’s cute hang, this episode really boiled down to one thing: why did LeeAnne flip out so hard after the red light district? If she was so against it, why did she go? Like Kam said, “Nobody can make anyone do anything.” Things reach such a level that they can’t even get the appetizer before their last dinner blows right up.

What’s wild about all of this is that most of the women don’t even know about the comments LeeAnne has made about Kary. The gist of the reason why being that Stephanie and Kam don’t feel safe confronting her or spoiling the trip with it. That’s unfortunate. I guess people do feel safe telling Kary at a child’s party next week, which should be interesting. I’ve been unsure about Kary as a reality star this season but she’s really started to sway me. People have had a hard time going up against LeeAnne in past seasons, but Kary is pretty fearless. It’s not that I necessarily always want to see people fight with LeeAnne, but it’s been so difficult to watch her these last few episodes. Plus, LeeAnne is forever going to find a way to start conflict, so we might as well make it layered and interesting.

I guess we should talk about the Dallas Society of it all. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for someone like Kameron Westcott in Dallas. But I mean, I have some sense of the city, and I went to college at SMU, so I know people who had more status and wealth at 18 than I’ll ever have in my lifetime. And here’s what I think: going to a very popular tourist attraction—which for better or for worse, is what Thailand’s red light district is—will not hurt Kameron’s reputation. I also don’t believe it will keep anyone from purchasing SparkleDog’s new multivitamin.

I do think that this reputation damaging propaganda may be a new layer to the “this is an unsafe area” narrative. Who among us hasn’t exaggerated something to get what we want. One time, in New Orleans, my friend and I wanted our other girlfriends to get up so we could go out to breakfast. Someone handed us a bag of pretzels to placate us, and my friend said she couldn’t eat pretzels because they upset her stomach. It was a boldface lie but it got those girls up and into the line at Café du Monde. Sometimes a little dramatic exaggeration is all you need to get a beignet or attention.

The problem is, people are now quick to identify LeeAnne’s statements as manipulations rather than truth. At this point, it’s hard to tell with her. She’s like the girl who cried social justice. Or at least the girl who cried society.

I do want to give LeeAnne credit for my favorite season four line delivery from her: “It was a lovely caprese salad,” she says as everyone around her leaves the dinner table. I know it doesn’t seem like much in written form, but it was funny.

Kam too had a few winners. The silent biter analogy was fun. “If you retreat, I’m gonna eat.”  Words to live by!

But there was a lot of un-fun in this episode. To be clear, I thought this three-episode arc was interesting for a lot of reasons (the L’Infinity dress, the elephant sanctuary, Kam with that whiteboard and not needing to be protected, Brandi ordering a Red Bull vodka in Thailand), but LeeAnne’s Mexican comments are a whole separate thing. At one point, I wondered if any of it should even have made the episodes, especially if we were just going to gloss over it—or worse—not address it at all during the reunion.

Thankfully, Andy eased those concerns on last night’s “Watch What Happens Live.” Apparently, the cast discusses LeeAnne’s slurs for a whole 90 minutes at the reunion. I’ve also never heard Andy sound so angry about a Housewife’s actions, which LeeAnne just released an apology for.

This does not seem to be her tone on next week’s season finale, however. Until then!

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