This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
The Real Stars of Real Housewives
I’ve learned in my [redacted] years on this cursed Earth not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Given that it’s seemed recently that said horse had either lost my address or completely retired, I’d nearly forgotten that lesson. Thankfully, my most trusted spiritual advisors, the Real Housewives, arrived to remind me.
The new season of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip premiered this week, debuting amid a fair amount of skepticism on the part of fans. Season 3 of the Peacock series was filmed in July 2022, a full seven months ago. Not only has another season of UGT already been filmed, but full seasons of Potomac and Salt Lake City, both of which had cast members on the trip, have aired in full.
That means that the drama happening during those seasons, on the trip, and in the respective shows’ reunions were all shown to fans out of order. The relationship dynamics between the stars have already shifted so many times and so extremely that watching UGT would likely be at best baffling if not entirely annoying.
Praise be, then, for my trusty gift horse. Yes, everything I said above is absolutely true about the new episodes. But as I devoured them with the same gusto I did with the free bag of SunChips on a Delta flight after not having eaten all day (I’ve been traveling a lot lately), I felt foolish for my doubts. Those qualms are mere quibbles—a sentence that made me giggle to myself. These are eight Real Housewives from across Bravo Nation making television in Thailand. Even a slightly confusing season is a miracle.
What surprised me most about the premiere is who emerged to be the breakout stars. There’s blatant jockeying for pole position when franchise veterans all get together like this. Yet the Housewife to receive the most attention was the one who was not even on the trip, as now-imprisoned Salt Lake City star Jen Shah dominated the lion’s share—or elephant’s share; this is Thailand—of the conversation.
Salt Lake City’s Heather Gay had been in the villa for mere minutes before being grilled about her support of Shah, who just days earlier pleaded guilty for crimes she had spent a year and a half claiming her innocence over. As we watch now, we know that Shah is in jail and Gay has spent months answering for her “ride-or-die” stance, making this relitigation slightly exhausting. Given how long ago all of that drama seems now to viewers, it was a surprise—and a detriment to UGT‘s much-delayed debut—to see it dominate the episode. But at least it was juicy TV, especially to see how fascinated Housewives from other cities were by the whole scandal.
There were two other delightful breakout stars of the episode. The first is Pepsi, the concierge at the villa, who can’t seem to disguise how simultaneously tickled and perplexed he is by these women and their behavior. This is all while they exhibit an infectious enthusiasm while interacting with him.
The other is Miami star Marysol Patton’s stomach issues, which are second in mentions only to Shah. They are even affecting her ability to consume “cockies,” which, if you know Patton, is a big deal.
I can’t wait to see and hear more from these three—and from the actual Housewives who are on the trip.
Broadway’s Twisted Turd—I Mean, Turn.
The camera roll on my iPhone is a carefully curated combination of blurry sunset photos, pictures of food so poorly taken that chefs should ban me from their restaurants, and screenshots of tweets and memes that I forget to delete. That latter category may be the most important one.
Sometimes you take a screenshot of something, and when you scroll through the photos on your phone, you see it again and erupt in the kind of uncontrollable fit of laughter that restores portions of that will to live that escaped with your soul, as you went through the hell of your week.
There is a new, very important entry into that personal canon, with the screenshot of this tweet of a Page Six story.
The thumbs up! I can’t! This apparently did happen. What a time to be alive.
GOOPed and Gagged
There is currently a trial happening in Utah, in which a man claims that Gwyneth Paltrow recklessly crashed into him on a posh Deer Valley ski slope, skiing away after the impact and leaving him gravely injured. Paltrow is counter-suing, claiming he is exaggerating and exploiting her celebrity.
Look, there are people who were hurt and real stakes involved here that shouldn’t be made light of. That said, this tweet made me laugh and laugh and laugh. (It’s also in the camera roll’s screenshot hall of fame.)
Impossible? Things Are Happening Everyday!
If you watched the Whitney Houston and Brandy version of Cinderella as a kid, or a teenager, or as a [redacted]-year-old man on a recent Sunday afternoon, then the following photos will mean a lot to you. Even if you don’t know what the hell the words “Descendants: Rise of the Red” mean.
What to watch this week:
Succession: TV’s greatest show continues to be very great. Who’d have thought!? (Sun. on HBO)
Yellowjackets: TV’s buzziest shows continue to be worthy of buzz. That’s a bee joke. (Now streaming; Sun. on Showtime)
The Big Door Prize: This was described to me as Ted Lasso-meets=Severance, which I can’t quite compute but am intrigued by. (Wed. on Apple TV+)
What to skip this week:
Great Expectations: Maybe it’s time to lower them! (Sun. on Hulu)
Love Is Blind: This was a fun lil’ experiment that is now just exhausting. (Now on Netflix)