Real Housewives of Auckland, episode 10: 'You're not my friend'
There is a pleasing symmetry to this last Gucci-packed episode of The Real Housewives of Auckland. The series that began with Julia's damp-squib birthday party in the city ends with fireworks at Michelle's surprise birthday party on Puketutu Island — where the name-calling escalates to an adolescent crescendo of cringe.
Gilda is labelled "disgusting", Lou "an absolute dog", Michelle a "gold digger", Julia "a f…… idiot", and Ang a "chardonnay w…."
Anne, sly and impossible to dislike, manages to float above it all in a cheerful Champagne haze.
We start the episode in Parnell, where Ang and Julia catch up at the antiques shop Baran de Bordeaux, to choose a birthday present for Michelle and to complain about Lou. They admire a $28,000 Louis Vuitton hatbox before choosing a massive pair of gold candlesticks with bonus half-melted candles still in place.
* Recap: Real Housewives of Auckland, episode 9 - 'Your book launch was s...'
* Recap: Real Housewives of Auckland, episode 8 - The Angela Stone Diaries
* Real Housewives of Auckland recap: Episode 7 - 'Here's to the little ducks and swans'
* Real Housewives of Auckland racial slur affects advertisers
* Real Housewives of Auckland: Lessons in racism and snobbery
While neither is particularly looking forward to Michelle's party, they are keen to take Lou "down a peg or two", after she bagged Ang's "boring" book launch and called Julia a "snitch".
"She's in her twilight years, pumping herself up with silicone," Julia tells Ang. "Her career is going through the floor while yours is rising."
Gilda meets Michelle's husband David at Milse in Britomart, to help him choose a "really impressive" cake. In the 17 years Michelle has lived in New Zealand she has never spent a birthday here, because like any self-respecting super-wealthy couple, she and David fly to Miami or the Caribbean for their winter holiday.
"What is the message coming from the bottom of your heart?" Gilda asks David, as he gets stuck into a cake tasting, possibly more fixed on flavour than feeling.
"A girl jumping out of the birthday cake?" he suggests.
"I think he's in hot water," says Gilda.
At Radio Live headquarters, Lou is chatting with Mike Puru about her impending talkback night shift. She is concerned she will find herself "talking rubbish" while the phone lines remain silent, which is pretty much what happens.
She gets Anne in at 1.30am to liven things up, but their conversation about Champagne and pussies fails to light up the board. One grump calls in to tell them that they are out of touch with New Zealand and that he likes Veuve Cliquot.
"Shows he doesn't have very good taste heh, heh, heh," says Anne.
Fun Facts: Anne used to fancy Donald Trump, and she once considered opening a "snakeskin emporium".
Michelle, David and their daughter Christelle hop into a helicopter bound for Kelliher Estate, Puketutu Island. Michelle still doesn't know what's up, and is none too pleased to be led blindfolded in six-inch heels into a building that "smells like a schoolhouse".
But when she sees that her dearest friends and all of the Real Housewives have gathered for a party, she is overcome. "It was such a beautiful thing to do."
Her joy is shortlived. Ang (who has inexplicably brought Lea the French intern to this intimate party) and Julia soon corner Lou, to have it out about her bad attitude at the Being Real book launch.
"Just because you get yourself in the s... every five minutes doesn't mean you have to smear it on me," Lou tells Julia before stalking off in the direction of Michelle and Gilda, who are trying to have a good time.
"My husband organises this beautiful surprise, then we have b…… squabbling," says a disappointed Michelle, who hasn't even got to taste her husband's fancy cake yet.
Gilda, keen to shut down the squabbling, goes to confront Julia and Ang. She reminds Julia that since Port Douglas she is not well placed to pass judgement on the other Housewives' behaviour, which is a reasonable point.
"Why are you so anti against me?" Julia asks.
"Because you're a f…… idiot," says Gilda, who has said this about Julia before, but not to her face. It's a bad scene.
Out in the garden, Ang and a tearful Julia regroup, wine glasses in hand.
"Louise has been an absolute dog," says Ang in counsellor mode. "She actually needs to come clean and say, yeah, I've got serious PMT and I have a career that's not going anywhere. Louise is dangerous. On the street she has got such a bad reputation as a hard-a… woman."
This would be the point when most rational folks would leave the party — there is clearly no fun to be had here — but it would seem there is no getting off this island. All the Housewives regather inside to present Michelle with her gifts: the giant antique candlesticks, a "super expensive, super wonderful" bottle of Champagne from Anne, and a Gucci lion's head ring from Gilda.
Lou, caught without a present, promises to take Michelle to lunch at the restaurant of her choice, once again wiggling out of an awkward situation. But Ang will not let that stand. She is determined to "hold a mirror up" to Lou, so she can see herself and stop "acting". Ang wants Lou to be real, in other words.
"You're possibly one of the most deluded people I've ever met in my life," says Lou, who also reveals that she does not consider Ang to be a friend, which surprises no-one but Ang, who thought they were friends who didn't like each other.
At this point Ang and Julia deliver their power move — they tell Michelle that at Gilda's book launch Lou said that she was "the biggest gold digger of all", and would "bleed David dry".
"I said it in a light-hearted fashion," explains Lou, who reckons it is no different to Scotty's boss saying he has "his c… in the till", which is not a common expression, but is certainly expressive.
Anne — who agreed with Lou's assessment but has escaped censure — tries to smooth things over by telling a furious Michelle, "You're a good spender, darling," and the old-money/new-money scrap is abandoned within minutes.
Anne also delivers the series' last line, as only she can.
"Champagne? Champagne, babies. I need some Champagne, heh heh heh."