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Posted at 2:20 AM ET, 10/ 8/2010

'Housewives' Nightlife: The state dinner, then stay for dessert

By Lavanya Ramanathan

In this final installment of "Housewives" Nightlife, we're not just going out, we're going to the White House, as Tareq and Michaele Salahi's plus-one.

That's right, cameras followed the Salahis right up to the gate. And every moment, every glance at their cellphones, every nervous twitch Tareq seems to make, is nerve-wracking.

When they get to the White House, the clipboard-wielding woman at the gate scans the list and announces what we knew we would hear: "I'm not seeing you guys right now."

But this clipboard wielder clearly hasn't worked the door of a D.C. club: Instead, she merely asks them to go through and "stand down there" while, she says, warmly, "I'll have them figure it out."

Um, what?

Now, if you've been to the Park, or to a sold-out show at the 9:30 club or any party during inauguration week last year, you'd know that no one with any experience behind a clipboard is this nice. If there is a list, and you're not on it (or, worse, if you're wearing shorts), you're outta luck. Sometimes they tell you that, but most of the time, they just stop paying attention to you.

The last we see of the Salahis, they're walking. Now, as for whether it was to wait where they were told, or to slip right past -- we're never privy to that crucial bit of info. The cameras didn't follow the couple in.

But we all know what happens next; if you need a refresher, this paper's Reliable Source columnistas followed the Salahis down the rabbit hole, and have all the coverage here.

Almost everything else in this episode is rehash, as far as we're concerned. The other 'Wives soon gather to gossip, then meet up again to watch the congressional hearing testimony. News reports blare year-old headlines. And everyone, outside of the Salahis, stays home from all the fashion shows and salon parties and just ... gawks.

Over the several months that cameras followed the 'Wives, they captured the ladies at real Washington events from a lobbyist's mixer to fashion shows (oh, so many regrettable fashion shows), and from M Street to the Dupont Circle Metro station to the swanky W Hotel. And let's not forget the multiple visits to the Madison Hotel.

In short, they lived totally plausible Washington lives. And this week, TV writer Lisa DeMoraes interviewed the series' producer, and learned that the whole nation, and Bravo, think that life was really, really boring.

For this last installment of "Housewives" Nightlife, I thought I'd offer producers five places the Gurus would send the "Real Housewives of D.C." to get those coveted younger viewers in Season 2. It's going to mean no more visits to the Madison, no charity fashion shows and absolutely no parties where you pose for photos that will later be published by one of those dull-as-dirt, bluehair Washington glossies.

1. Estadio
Georgetown is played out. The crowd at this new restaurant and bar is fashionable, mature and adventurous enough to venture to busy, buzzing 14th Street, the heart of D.C.'s major cultural reinvention. Next time you have one of your gossipy, producer-prompted dinner dates with the gals, do it here.

2. Wonderland Ballroom
Cat Ommanney, we all know you had a thing with Prince Harry, and now that you're single again, I have a feeling you'd love this Columbia Heights bar, where 21-year-olds drink their faces off, dance and explore their sexuality with cougars just like you. Just think: You could offer some NGO worker an escape from his vegan group house. It's practically charity.

3. Fashion Parties
Washington style is no longer dictated by our former fashion icon, Ann Taylor. Lynda Erkiletian, why spend all that money on a posh runway show when you can charge $35 bucks a head and get a funky venue with an open bar? To see how it's done in this new era of Washington fashion, look to bloggers, and street kids, and anyone else who has figured out how to turn on one of those fancy SLR cameras. Check out this burgeoning scene -- and scope for talent -- at Worn Magazine's upcoming launch party at U Street Music Hall or at the fashion:district bash.

4. Churchkey and Brasserie Beck
We're so tired of hearing about that Winery That We Will Not Name out in the country. It's an hour-plus from the city, and oh, yeah, not actually open. These two bars specialize in extensive selections of beers from around the world; and it's beer, not wine, that Washingtonians are currently obsessed with. Bonus: They're in the "real" city you purport to film in.

5. Have the 'Wives do things with their kids: Send them to festivals. Have them eat some cupcakes -- maybe even do it in a minivan.
It might not be "posh," but people in the heartland think this stuff is amazing. Just look at how well they respond to all those wacky TLC shows, like "D.C. Cupcake" (shot at Georgetown's own Georgetown Cupcake), or how exciting it was every time "Jon & Kate" managed to get their "8" all dressed, out of the house and back to the house without accidentally losing one. That could be you, Mary Amons, since you've got a whopping five of 'em!

Start with the Burst! preview bash of the new Arlington cultural center, Artisphere, where a TLC show will actually be filming Saturday night (so meta, isn't it?). Next month's "Ice!" exhibition looks kooky enough to fill some airtime. And you don't need an invite to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting. It's not quite "in" the White House, but it's close. And all you need is a ticket, and it's free.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | October 8, 2010; 2:20 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  | Tags:  Real Housewives of D.C.  
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