The first episode of Real Housewives of Toronto, recapped
It’s finally happened: Toronto has its own batch of Real Housewives. Over the last decade, the franchise has amassed cult followings in nearly a dozen cities (including Vancouver), where viewers get a glimpse into the over-the-top lives of a handful of ultra-wealthy women, their soap opera–level drama and occasionally canny self-awareness. On last night’s premiere of Real Housewives of Toronto, we met the newest cast of ladies, found out why they’re fabulous and joined them at an unusual party in the penthouse of the SoHo Hotel.
But first, some good news: I’ve solved Toronto’s real estate crisis. If you were wondering who’s been out-bidding you on properties all around town, wonder no longer—it was one of these women. It doesn’t take long for the “Six from the 6ix” (as we’ll grudgingly call them) to divulge that they own about 30 houses and condos between them. There are homes in Forest Hill, waterfront properties in Vancouver, the casual mentions of “a few cottages in Muskoka.” Please, someone screen the first 15 minutes of this episode for the finance minister.
Anyway, why worry about your mortgage when you can worry about Roxy? This woman is everything. She’s not only one of the youngest Housewives I’ve seen on any franchise, she’s also the first plus-sized one. She looks great, seems like tons of fun, has an extremely handsome tech investor husband, and is more likely to spend $100,000 on her beauty routine than on real estate. Plus, she crashes her Benz into a curb in the very first scene and doesn’t blink an eye.
Then we meet Ann, a self-made millionaire living in Forest Hill. She made her fortune financing plastic surgery and dental procedures for people who can’t afford them at high interest rates, which only seems scammier when meet her NHL-player-turned-plastic-surgeon husband at a plastic surgery “procedure party” (really just a Tupperware party for women who are too bougie to need Tupperware). More on this later.
Next up is Kara Alloway, daughter of Lord and Lady something-or-other. Kara grew up going to parties in Monte Carlo and at first glance seems like a rich white lady who considers herself a fashionista. But no! Kara is a rich white lady who is also a born-again Christian. She doesn’t drink (a recipe for conflict on these shows), writes copy for her husband’s corporate law firm (a heavenly vocation) and tells us her “best friend was born in a manger” (God bless reality show casting directors). Also, she says she shops because God wants her to be fabulous, not dour like all those other Christian women.
So, Roxy and Kara meet up in Yorkville to go shopping. While they are perusing handbags, Roxy invites Kara to Ann’s superluxe procedure party. Kara’s jaw drops when Roxy mentions the name of Ann’s husband, Stephen Mulholland. Why? Because of “The Face Hickey of 2002,” of course. Apparently, 15 years ago, one of Dr. Mulholland’s technicians sucked Kara’s cheek a little too hard during a microdermabrasion procedure and it turned purple. Kara is still not over it. Roxy doesn’t think this is a big deal, probably because 15 years ago, she was a sophomore in high school, and the idea of harbouring social resentment for that long just doesn’t compute. Roxy has so much to learn about WASPy ladies.
Now we are on King Street West with the final three Housewives. There’s Joan, a blonde from humble beginnings who married a CEO. She now takes bubbles baths everyday and has a life-size portrait of herself dressed as a cowgirl beside her bed. There’s Grego, short for Gregoraine, a young mom and former French-Canadian child actress who is married to Pierre Jutras, president of the Spoke Club. He says her joie de vivre can sometimes piss people off. I look forward to her throwing shade at one of the Housewives in French. And, lastly, we have Jana. She is the owner of a Joga (jock yoga) fitness empire and spends her time taking private planes to appointments to train professional athletes. Jana is divorced and shares custody of her kid, which means, one week, she’s wearing her mom hat, and the next week, “Woooo!”
The three ladies are sipping white wine on the patio of Portland Variety and talking about—what else?—Ann’s procedure party. Joan is anxious because the first time she met Ann, she told her she was sorry to hear her mom passed away and Ann cried.
Finally, it’s fab-u-luxe procedure party night. Ann is at the Soho Hotel picking the tie-dyed orchids out of the flower arrangements. Joan, Jana and Grego take a limo there together (not just for 905 bridesmaid parties, guys!).
The women meet in the penthouse of the SoHo, where a surgical chair and some mystery equipment are getting less and less sterile in the corner. Five of the housewives start drinking champagne and seem to think Kara, the God-fearing teetotaller, talks too much—about herself, about her degrees from McGill, about skiing—but she just seems nervous.
Then Dr. Mulholland, the architect of the Face Hickey, gives us a little shock. He starts his plastic surgery demo, and, instead of lasers or chemical peels, he starts swiftly and forcefully stabbing his model (a human woman, for the record) in the face with a needle. He jabs it up her nose a bunch of times to give her an “instant rhinoplasty.” Then he weaves foot-long wires through the surface of the model’s skin, from her forehead to her chin, and starts tightening her face by twisting the ends together like she’s Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It’s closer to a subdermal implant than a facial. I don’t know how Dr. Mulholland booked this model, but I really hope someone paid for her Uber ride home.
The Housewives are rightly horrified, but they politely stick around for another glass of champagne. Some are getting tipsy, and Kara starts getting judgmental (told you). At one point, she cuts Grego out of a conversation, which pisses off both Grego and Jana, who seem to be actual friends. Not much later, Grego accidentally drops her champagne glass, and it shatters and—gulp—causes Kara’s leg to bleed. Poor, sweet Grego. Who hasn’t gotten too drunk at an awkward party before 9 p.m. and let a piece of glassware slip out of their hand, watching as the shards spray back at the one person least likely to be cool about it?
The smashed champagne signals the end of the party, and the women take off. But they will be back next week. And so will I.