Housewives Nightlife, Episode 8: Washington, by invitation only
Here we are, at the penultimate episode of "The Real Housewives of D.C.," and finally, we get a little action: the first glimpse of what happened the night of the state dinner, aka the night Michaele and Tareq Salahi got their Bollywood on, sans invite.
But first, this episode peeks in at Lynda Erkiletian, who, as the owner of T.H.E. modeling agency in Georgetown, is helping to cast a fashion show organized by the Embassy of Burkina Faso (yes, around here even the fashion shows can have a diplomatic bent.) \Want to attend a fashion event in D.C. soon? There are a few left this season, including All Access Fashion at Tysons Galleria, which, along with a packed schedule on Oct. 2, hosts a runway show Oct. 1 with the clothes of "Sex and the City" style maven Patricia Field. You can attend, but to snag a seat, you'll need an invite.
Invites, in fact, are the theme of this week's episode.
Lynda, Catherine Ommanney and Mary Amons meet up (where else, at the Madison) to have a meal and dish about the Housewife they didn't invite to this bread-breaking: Michaele. The wives are more mystified than miffed by Michaele's mythological lifestyle, from the Redskins cheerleader whopper to "modeling" to her boosting of the winery that isn't actually open.
Thanks to some editing magic, we simultaneously see the Salahis on their way to a special dinner at one of Washington area's most luxurious restaurants: The Inn at Little Washington. Now, this place is known for both its spectacular American food, and its spectacular bill. But not only are the Salahis going to the Inn, they're eating at the chef's table, settling in for a multi-course meal with wine. If you actually have the money to afford it, the Post's critic, Tom Sietsema, gave it a stellar review last fall.
Meanwhile, Cat and her hubby, Charles, get an invite -- oh, there's that theme again -- to a White House Christmas party (there were many, many holiday parties at the White House last winter). They go on and on about how lovely that invite is -- you can almost smell the glue! -- which, of course, savvy readers will recognize, is foreshadowing.
While they seem like they're happy together in this scene, Cat posted on the Bravo blog last week that things weren't as happy as they seemed, and troubles started even before filming.
Still, Cat and Charles are on the invite list and attend Lynda's fashion show together. But Lynda bolts to the security guards to ensure that the Salahis won't be getting in, front door or the back, no way, no how.
Stacie spends much of this episode hard at work trying to find her father; she pens a creepy Facebook message to her biological mother's son in hopes that he will aid her in her search. Now, a mysterious message that weird would get spiked by me as spam. (All-caps? Always gives me the willies). Sure enough, a week passes and no response comes. So she decides to reach out to the Embassy of Nigeria for help.
A representative meets with Stacie and her husband to see what she can do. Where do they go? Sova, one of the most popular coffee shops in the rising H Street NE district.
Worth a visit? Definitely. But as long as the chatter was centered around Africa, I'm a little surprised they didn't head to Sidamo, which is African-owned; if you want your coffee with a side of drama, it's well-known for its traditional coffee ceremony on Sundays.
Okay, now for the stuff that kept us watching the whole episode: the state dinner. This episode didn't actually show the Salahis at the White House, but as they got ready for their big night out. The best way to watch all of this, mind you, is to actually know what really went down that night. Check out the primer created by the lovely ladies of the Reliable Source.
So, Michaele and Tareq turn up at Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa, a well-respected spot in Georgetown, so Michaele can get her makeup done by Erwin himself. As he dutifully smudges lavender eye shadow on her lids, Michaele goes into great detail about the state dinner, and their invite, the U.S. relationship with India -- you know, all the usual spa convo.
Later, however, she tells the hairstylist that she got the invite at first by phone, and it's obvious the truth is starting to get a little blurry: She also says she used to go to the White House as makeup artist to do makeup on the vice president. And that she was preparing for a party that was totally "confidential," but oh, yeah, it's totally state dinner. But since she's discreet, she would never brag about all that.
Then things start getting really weird. She heads to the car to get her bangles, but implies she's lost another, more important bag, with her shoes, her bra -- and the invitation (which, remember, she said first was a phone call).
We start to see the seams of the whole production: A producer asks her bluntly why she's acting like it's not a "big deal" that she lost her invite. Michaele goes back into the salon to search for it. Then, when she doesn't find it (surprise?), she insists that everything will be a-okay. She says this with this gritted-fake smile I've seen before this season -- whenever she insists that Oasis will reopen and reclaim its title as a world-renowned winery.
It was enough to make your head spin.
One last note before I sign off this week: I need to relieve myself of 10 months of pent-up frustration about this "sari." Tonight, all my suspicions that it was not a sari were confirmed. That was not a sari. It was never a sari. As Erwin Gomez helped wrap Michaele, dosa-like into her outfit (nice job, by the way, Erwin), it was clear to me it was actually a lehenga, much less fussy than a sari. (Examples here, from a NoVa retailer I picked at random.) A sari is wrapped, yes, but it's a minimum of six yards of fabric, and this was a shawl.
And that, class, brings us to the close of this edition of India for Dummies. Join us again next week for the last episode, complete with a list of hot spots that "real" Washingtonians would have visited.
| October 1, 2010; 6:39 AM ET
Tags: Housewives Nightlife, Real Housewives of D.C.
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