I’ve missed these Ladies!
Bravo kept us waiting almost an entire year as the show was filmed in the fall of 2014. Better late than never! You can’t be sure of what Bravo is going to do with a series, but the channel has clearly made a huge investment in cast and production for season 2. Goodbye Caprice and Noelle Reno, Hello Sophie Stanbury and Caroline Fleming!
Our show opens with the Queen of England (Or of Bravo!) herself Caroline Stanbury at the offices of her company “The Gift Library.” Juliet Angus shows up and immediately brings the drama before the first commercial break. Caroline brings up Marissa Hermer’s name in conversation and Juliet makes a face. Marissa has been a friend to Juliet since she came to London, yet now it seems Angus has grown tired of her ways. Caroline jokingly suggests “couples therapy” for the former besties and I agree! They need to sift through their differences like adults and not drag Caroline into the middle.
Julie Montagu and Annabelle Neilson bonded over Neilson’s horrifying accident/recovery from a riding accident last season. “Jules” was a frequent visitor and friend to Annabelle during her recovery and the two have incredibly similar souls. Both are deeply caring and kind women and have a mutual love of the Montagu’s estate Mapperton. We get to meet Luke Hinchingbrook, Julie’s husband, who is busy working the estate. Julie is refreshing, English nobility on a bike!
So cute to see Marissa and Matt Hermer’s family at home. Simply gorgeous! Marissa tells us she is “Impressed with herself” and that she is an “artist” at what she does. She also is an exceptional hostess who “gives good guest.” You go Marissa! It’s nice to be confident in all that you do. Sounding more British by the minute!
Caroline picks up Juliet to meet the girls for Thanksgiving shopping. There is no cell phone service in a $3M pound home area? I’d move. Really I would! Juliet immediately begins lamenting about Thanksgiving, because it’s also her birthday, and Marissa is cooking it at a restaurant!! Dear God!! The ladies meet the rest of the cast for grocery shopping at a London store called “Partridges.” None of the others have a problem with Marissa’s Thanksgiving at Bumpkin except Juliet. Juliet wants to have it at a “home” like Caroline’s, not at a restaurant, and shoots down all of Marissa’s ideas. Marissa is upset by Juliet’s lack of manners and becomes adamant that Thanksgiving will be as planned. She’s done it for the past 5 years, and doesn’t appreciate Juliet’s interference with her “Hermer-traditional” plans. There will be blood between these two strong women……over a turkey dinner
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Back at Caroline’s house, where we all want to live, her staff is on hand to run through the day with her. I am surprised to see her butter her own toast (kidding!) or put something called “Marmite” on it? ! don’t hate on the Queen for all that she has! I’m quite sure as part of the Vestey family Caroline was raised with a gaggle of nannies, tutors, lessons, and drivers! This lifestyle isn’t uncommon in England’s upper classes and it’s fun to see how the other half-lives. In fact I’d love to see more Caroline glamour, and less “turkey-gate.”
Juliet shows up at Caroline’s house to share her morning toast. Ready to stir the gravy, Juliet asks Caroline her thoughts on “Turkey-gate.” Caroline felt they walked into an event where the details had already been decided on, which is 100% correct. Marissa did have it completely planned and ready for all to enjoy. But Juliet thinks that the holiday should be spent with family in a HOME (just like Caroline’s house to be exact) She wants to start a new tradition with her own ideas and not have plans decided for her. To me this has nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with a silly competition. Juliet has a bad habit of making situations worse with her lack of tact, and ends up offending people with her brash statements. Calling Marissa a manipulator is comical when in her very next breath Juliet invites herself to a brand new Thanksgiving. One that she asks Caroline to host by telling her how fun her kitchen is to cook in, and that it feels like America, all through sentimental tears. Caroline hates tears and has impeccible manners, so of course she tells Juliet “yes’ they can have Thanksgiving in Surrey. That’s manipulation too. Caroline shouldn’t be getting dragged into the middle of “Turkey-gate”, but Juliet puts her dead center.Caroline lets Juliet know she needs to tell Marissa about the change of plans, and warns her that it won’t be pretty.
Juliet goes to see Marissa at Bumpkin to debate tradition and “Turkey-gate” Juliet gets easily frazzled so watching her try to make conversation points with Marissa is painful. Bottom line? Juliet wants to be able to lay on the couch with a full stomach and unzipped pants, not play dress-up at a formal Thanksgiving dinner. World War III commences, and both ladies leave the chat angry and upset. We will now have dueling dinners……film at 11.
Caroline is feeling the stress…..and her bestie Luke Henderson is there to sooth her nerves and make her gorgeous. “Bubbles” feels her pain for Caroline having to plan 2 parties in 2 days, instead of just her cocktail party for London’s most fabulous. The stress is all in her fingertips, Caroline is the Jedi-master Yoda of delegation!
Caroline’s party is a who’s who of London society! Love hearing the story about sister-in-law Sophie Stanbury’s “hen party” which is the US equivalent of a Bachelorette weekend! Something about running naked through the streets…..I love her already. We also get to meet Baroness Caroline Fleming, who was Stanbury’s roomate years ago! Marissa attends and hands out Thanksgiving hats in a very passive-aggressive manner. Caroline explains to Marissa “turkey-gate wasn’t her fault. Marissa feels Juliet traded her friendship up for Caroline’s. Sad situation all round. Juliet arrives and feels the instant chill as Marissa moves away from her. They try to step away and have a conversation, and they AGAIN fight about the freakin’ party. At this point they both have lost the audience and all American holidays are now banned in the UK. Somewhere Annabelle is laughing and glad she’s nowhere around the drama.