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House of Villains Recap: Parting Is Such Sweet, Treacherous Sorrow


It’s awards season, and it’s also that special time of the year when editors from coast to coast start rounding up and ranking their favorite pieces of pop culture and performances from the past year, only … something’s wrong with all of your lists this year. Something’s missing, something with panache, something that dares to look camp right in the eye and then spit on its grave in the same sentence. Where’s House of Villains? Where is Shake, a bystander constantly on the verge of nervous vomiting, with eyes hollow and haunted like he’s just been in a car crash every time the camera turns to lens his puzzled visage? Where is Omarosa, a villain in every sense, both literal and metaphysical, living up to and then transcending your expectations of her treachery with every intake of breath? Where’s Bananas, ever playing the fool but secretly executing the savviest game in the house? And where is this episode’s Supervillain of the Week, Bobby Lytes, a walking meme in heels brought to you by Shein, Long Island iced teas, and Ricky’s NYC (RIP)?

This week’s House of Villains continues to drive home my loud insistence to anyone within spitting distance that E! has seized upon a winning format, cast, host, and production. I think the shouting is working, as is the general word of mouth: The show has been steadily building up a core fandom that has slowly but steadily grown every week since its second-week drop-off (a strong first week in viewership was aided by the fact that the premiere was broadcast on multiple networks).

Throat-clearing over because if you’re here, you’re watching House of Villains, or invested in its general messiness, and for this you are my chosen family. So too is Bobby, who’s earned a seat at any table I sit at for the rest of time with his wickedly stupid and fun nomination of self, alongside Bananas and Shake, at last week’s Nomination Ceremony. “And I be damned,” Bobby says in the wake of the ceremony without a follow-up. “I just be damned.” I genuinely believe Jax would have short-circuited had he witnessed even ten seconds of the “gameplay” Bobby has given the cameras in the weeks since the Vanderpump Rules star’s early elimination, and frankly, I would like to see that.

Shake starts early campaigning with the housemates to stay around for another week, to which Omarosa says: “I wouldn’t believe Shake if his tongue came notarized.” I don’t care if she’s getting someone to write these lines for her because the delivery is just as good. I wish I knew how to quit you, Omarosa.

Fairplay remains in the hot seat for his choice of Bobby as Supervillain of the Week, catching special heat from Hit List victims Shake and Bananas. “Bobby told me I could pick” would be on the Hit List, Fairplay says weakly, not believing the words as they leave his lips. “You can’t believe a word coming out of that guy’s mouth, Jonny,” replies Bananas, before we are gifted another excellent supercut of footage of Bobby just saying words as they bubble up from the recesses of his twisted, delightful inner workings. They include:

For their Redemption Challenge, the villains are whisked away to North Hollywood’s Ha Ha Comedy Club, which is just several blocks from Universal Studios Hollywood, where I would’ve preferred they’d gone. Imagine the synergy between theme park and network! I can come up with 16 challenges off the top of my head: See who gets adopted by the lesbian couple at the end of the Secret Lives of Pets ride first … or see who can walk the straightest line after riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey … or see who can memorize and give the studio backlot tour spiel the closest to the script. Hire me for your writer’s room for the next season, E!

Alas, it’s a comedy challenge called “Cap It Off” in which each Hit List villain must caption a photo from the season thus far with noncompeting villains voting on whose caption is the funniest. To ensure a clean voting system, Joel is tasked with reading each caption aloud. Off the bat, we’re treated to a gem: “I Google all my captions on Instagram,” confesses Bananas, which, what? How? Why? More about this, please.

Looking at our contestants — Shake, Bananas, and Bobby — you’d assume there’s only one possible winner in the group … and you’d be wrong! Throughout the competition, it’s a mostly even race. There’s basically no use in recounting all the captions because there’s nothing less funny than trying to recap jokes, but there is an incredible moment when Bobby mistypes “orgasms” and writes “organisms” instead. He then harangues the producers for not autocorrecting it, but they clap back that they can’t autocorrect an English word. Game recognize game.

Bananas wins the challenge, leading Bobby to throw a hissy fit not worth recounting in any detail because it’s mostly performative and, like his captions, not all that funny. He does bite a cigarette in half and spit it to the ground, which is fun prop comedy if you’re into that sort of thing.

The house seems more or less aligned that it’s Shake’s time to go, but ample time between the challenge and the vote is always the ultimate villain on a show like this. With only five voting members this week — Omarosa, Fairplay, Anfisa, Tanisha, and the newly safe Bananas — there’s no chance of a tie, so one swing vote could carry someone to safety. Plus, as Bananas points out, Bobby and Omarosa’s formidable alliance — likely a final two alliance — could be easily broken up if Tanisha is swayed to vote to keep Shake, even if it would mean losing Bobby, one of her closest friends.

With Anfisa and Omarosa a near-lock to keep Bobby and Bananas a certifiable vote against him, Fairplay and Tanisha are the moving chess pieces. The former expresses a desire to take a shot against Bobby for messing up his game by going against him with the Hit List nominations, but Tanisha remains up for grabs.

We enter the Banishment Ceremony, and Bobby’s speech — dragging Shake for the one suit he brought to wear to each ceremony — is, as always, a delight. But will it be enough to save him from his self-inflicted danger?

No it will not! Tanisha flips, votes for Bobby to go, and once again, an icon disappears before our very eyes. Since Bobby was the Supervillain of the Week, Joel McHale does the honors and sends our sweet, chaotic Bobby into the wall. “You guys’ fashion sucks,” he spits as he goes with a villainous cackle. Reader: let’s pour one out together.

Villains’ Attic

• I will never, ever, ever be able to scrub the image of Bobby deepthroating the head of the doll that looks like Shake while Shake shouts “he’s deepthroating me!” Critics Choice Awards, where are you??

• Bananas is going to win this whole thing, right? He’s playing six steps ahead, as we saw in his confessional during the scene in which he mediated a resolution between Tanisha and Fairplay. Owning up to the fact that he was getting in good with Fairplay so that next week the Survivor alum would help him win Supervillain of the Week, only to stab him in the back by throwing him on next week’s Hit List? I really think it’ll take a miracle to stop this train.

• Bobby Lytes cosplaying as Darkwing Duck at the Banishment Ceremony — I love this villain, I really do. Miss you already, legend.



Brennan Carley , 2023-12-08 04:00:17

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