Real Housewives of Toronto episode five recap: parties, parties, parties
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This week on Real Housewives of Toronto, the women are back in the city after their Muskoka vacation, and we get to witness the fallout from Kara’s Revenge Tubing stunt. Last episode, in an effort to punish the other Housewives for getting too drunk at her dinner party, Kara took them on a hungover banana boat ride and tried to get them to toss their cookies (or at least get tossed off the raft). But when they went flying, it was Kara who ended up getting kicked underwater and allegedly fracturing a rib or two, and now it’s all we are ever going to hear about until the end of time.
Kara, stuck on the couch, has tasked her sons with taking care of her. The three of them fetch her smoothies and apples as they drift around the house on electric hoverboards, which is exactly how I imagined rich teenage boys acting in 2017.
Grego’s 10th wedding anniversary is coming up, so Joan accompanies her on a shopping trip to Avec Plaisir in Yorkville. I braced myself for a cringe-worthy scene involving too-sexy lingerie and feather accruements, but Grego bucks Housewives tradition and picks out a beautiful white slip. She and her husband, Pierre, spend a romantic night together at the Royal York, where they get couples massages. The most interesting thing we learn is that Grego and Pierre met when she was working at a club he owned in Montreal. Could this be a rare example of cross-class mating? Either way, they kiss and say “Je t’aime” a lot and are super-adorable.
The ladies (minus Kara) pretend there’s an anniversary party to lure Roxy to a surprise birthday party that Ann planned to make up for Kara snubbing her in Muskoka. Ann is pretty sure Kara ignored Roxy’s birthday on purpose and wants to get a gift that will make Roxy feel special, so, naturally, she picks her out two $1,000 life-size pewter dog sculptures. Ann even orders a custom-made cake topper of Roxy and her dog, Lola, because apparently she has money to burn and burn and burn.
Convalescing Kara doesn’t attend the party, so she records an awkward video message to Roxy, which gets played on the monitors in the club. This is obviously the work of the producers, and it briefly steers the conversation to the various fights that happened in Muskoka. Roxy jokes that Kara is allergic to her birthday—“Who avoids one person’s birthday party this much?”—then kiboshes the Kara talk in exchange for more champagne.
Next, we’re at lunch with Kara and Ann. Kara admits she took the women on the banana boat to intentionally make them throw up, because she felt “disrespected” and “insulted” by their drunkenness. Ann is flabbergasted and tells us it was a pretty standard Muskoka evening. Rather than get defensive, she says she’s just sad to realize Kara is so vindictive.
Kara then invites Ann to attend the upcoming AMBI Gala, a TIFF-timed charity event that’s co-chaired by the Prince of Monaco and…James Franco. (Didn’t see that one coming.) Kara is on a mission to sell tickets and asks asks Ann if she’ll invite the other women for her, because she’s still mad at them. “Anybody’s money is good to me,” she says. Ann tells her to invite them herself at Joan’s upcoming boat party on Lake Ontario (not to be confused with the dock party of episodes past). Kara doesn’t want to go (because, rib) but, after a power match of fake smiles, eventually relents.
Joga Jana decides there is too much negativity among the Housewives, so she invites Roxy and Joan to go to a sound therapy session with her. I would love to make fun of sound bathing, but I did it once in on vacation in the Mojave Desert, and it’s awesome. However, the guy running it looks like he should lose the didgeridoo and consider vaccinating his children.
And like that, Joan’s seemingly far-off boat party arrives. So many activities! Everything is perfectly Joan-like—the sun is out, the boat is white, the dresses are floor-length—until Kara boards and hands her a hostess gift: an over-sized wine glass, which the women laugh off, and a bottle of San Pellegrino, which immediately shifts the mood. “Joan came to my cottage and got bombed,” Kara tells us. “So there’s a message in the gift. It’s a subliminal message.” Well, not that subliminal.
I can’t figure out Kara’s game plan. Giving a housewife a giant wine glass after she gets too drunk and taking your friends Revenge Tubing are very Housewives-y things to do, if they’re charming jokes. But passive-aggressively insinuating that the other women are disrespectful drunks just makes her look like a jerk. She’s real-life friends with two veteran Real Housewives from other franchises—Kyle Richards of Beverly Hills and Bethenny Frankel of New York City—so I assumed she would understand how the Housewives game is played. Why is she letting herself become the villain, when she so desperately wants to be liked? Did she come on the show to get an in with James Franco by selling AMBI Gala tickets?
Joga Jana knows the rules. She jumps on the opportunity to question Kara about her injuries. The women are confused about how Kara managed to pull herself back up onto the water banana if she had just broken two of her ribs. Also, why was she wearing a sling in her birthday video to Roxy? “As far as I’m aware, no one would ever put you in a sling for having broken ribs,” says Jana. Kara deflects by pointing out a bruise that none of the other women can see and explaining her family history of very soft bones. This party is not going well.
Eventually, things cool off and the ladies start discussing Grego’s husband’s surprise anniversary gift for her: front-row tickets to a Céline Dion concert in Montreal (O Canada!). Instead of riding the wave of pleasant conversation, Kara interjects to invite the women to a private shopping event she is hosting with a designer who has allegedly dressed Céline. She promises the designer will bring clothes in everyone’s size, but Roxy seems doubtful. A portion of the proceeds will go to the AMBI Foundation, so Kara delivers a spiel about child welfare—a worthy cause, though Kara’s pitch feels phoney and forced. You can tell none of the women want to go, but good ol’ Corporate Wife Joan just can’t help herself and immediately accepts. Kara just burned you with giant stemware and European water 10 minutes ago, Joan! Grow a spine—or at least don’t be the first one to agree.
The other women follow suit, but Jana in particular seems skeptical. She can’t conceal her glare when Kara jokes they should bring “Visa, MasterCard or Black Amex.” I realize the bored rich ladies of the world raise a lot of money for charity, but it’s unappealing to see philanthropy used as a guise for self-importance. Even worse when it’s just a guise to meet James Franco—and he doesn’t even show up for dinner.