ARMED SHAH-BBERY

by Jessica Besser-Rosenberg

If I could do it all over again, I would have gone to law school and specialized in Real Housewives fraud. Truly, I could have made a nice living representing idiots who go on national television, flaunting their conspicuous consumption, while benefiting from glaringly illegal money-making schemes. 

But the Housewives of Salt Lake City are too wrapped up in the trauma of the moment to reflect on my law career that never was. They are still on their limo bus, en route to Vail, having just inadvertently helped Jen evade the authorities. Slowly they realize that no, Coach Shah is not in the hospital with internal bleeding (thank god) and yes, Jen Shah is on the run. (ruh-roh). Jennie is the one exception. She couldn’t be less fazed if she was asleep. Just cuz Jen’s getting arrested for defrauding little old ladies doesn’t mean her bag of snacks needs to go to waste. Her cookies didn’t commit felonies. Dig in, ladies!

After Lisa pulls herself together, she calls the six lawyers she has on retainer, her husband, and probably Taco Bell, because it brings her comfort. Why in the name of Latter-day Saints does anyone need six lawyers? Maybe they’re helping negotiate the contract that allows Lisa to own a liquor company while still preserving a spot in the Mormon Celestial level of heaven. On a call to her husband, she whispers that she thinks Meredith knew something, implying Meredith tipped off the feds. Meanwhile, Whitney thinks Lisa is acting oddly for calling all those lawyer-folks, and Jennie thinks Whitney is odd for asking so many incisive questions about Jen’s business. I think they’re overlooking the most likely rat, the trout guy from a few episodes back who most certainly was passing info to the Feds through his fishing hole.

Suddenly, Whitney gets a news alert that Jen Shah, along with her assistant Stu, have been arrested for a massive wire fraud and money laundering scheme and could face decades in jail. 

Heather and Lisa weep, while Whitney’s eyes blink like she just realized that Jen has been faking that limp the whole time and she IS Keyzer Soze!

The ladies collect themselves and Whitney launches into some beautiful conspiracy theories that make me believe she is both smart enough to be part of the CIA or gullible enough to be part of QAnon. Heather draws on her knowledge of the hit show Ozark to dissect how Jen may have laundered money and I would LOVE for Heather to try her hand at court reporting. 

We see shots of the Feds raiding Jen’s home, which is terrible because her kids are led out at gunpoint. Bravo didn’t need to show this. It felt cruel and cheap. Fuck you Bravo. For this. I’ll still watch for everything else.

Lisa facetimes Meredith, who is settling in at the house in Vail. When Lisa breaks the arrest news to her, Meredith shrugs like someone just told her milk prices went up thirty cents. In Meredith’s world, only peasants drink milk anyway.  Meredith is almost smug about the arrest, like she knew it was just a matter of time, like perhaps SHE was the one who ratted out Jen. 

Meredith then proceeds to take the world’s longest bath. Mary arrives in Vail and greets Meredith in her bath, and the two discuss the arrest. Surprisingly, Mary has empathy for Jen, maybe because she’s running some fraud of her own, and seems a bit surprised that Meredith unbothered by the arrest. She’s also surprised that Meredith won’t get out of her fucking bath.

The other ladies finally arrive in Vail, and Meredith is still in THIS GODDAMN BATH – now more prune than woman. Meredith’s indifference to the arrest and her refusal to get out of the bath is a huge power move, like she’s playing the part of some media magnate on Succession, who has brought down her enemies before 9am.  

FINALLY, when the bath water has naturally evaporated, Meredith joins the lady downstairs for dinner and gossip. She shares that a few months ago, someone in Jen’s entourage stole a clutch from her store, and later returned it but Jen never fired this person. Um petty theft does not a massive fraud scheme make. Then we learn apparently Jen is flagged by Louis Vuitton because she pays in cash. And we also learn that Jen maybe, perhaps is cheating on Coach Shah. It’s unclear. I have no idea what any of these things have to do with her arrest. But if Whitney’s on the case, I’m certain she’ll connect the dots soon enough


Jessica Besser-Rosenberg is a Chicago-based writer, comedian, and admirer of all the women on every Real Housewives franchise ever. (Except D.C. That one sucked.) Her work has been featured in the RedEye, MockMoms, The Belladonna Comedy, The Second City Network, and the iO Comedy Network. Follow her on Twitter at @JessGBR.

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