this season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City has featured a cast member arrested and charged with fraud as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security surrounded a van in which most of the rest of the women were filming, horrified and confused.

He has chronicled allegations against another cast member, who is married with a son by his adoptive grandfather, that he is scamming and exploiting his church members and running what some have called “a cult.” Another cast member opened up about her husband’s desire for a “sister wife,” bragged about breaking her ribs in a fit of violent rage, and has since been fired from the series after racist memes she had posted surfaced. on social networks.

It is a bar higher than the mountains of Utah, so high that Joseph Smith himself can see it from the heavenly realmthat becomes clear when we say that what happened in the closing moments of Sunday night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City it’s the wildest thing to happen in the series so far. In fact, it could be among the most explosive. Housewives moments in franchise history, and was never meant to be captured.

There is no happier and, as RHOSLC Star Lisa Barlow just discovered a more devastating aspect of reality TV than the accidental “hot mic” moment. For viewers and producers, it’s fluke: candid confessions, juicy revelations, or, in this case, deranged tirades one would make when they assume the cameras aren’t on them and their words will never be made public.

One of the biggest and most consequential moments in nonfiction television happened courtesy of a hot microphone: Robert Durst’s burp heard around the world…and subsequent murder confession. (Although HBO apparently he tampered with it.)

The Real Housewives are icons (victims, survivors, ambassadors) of the hot mic. Barbara Kavovit in New York being caught saying that her friend Luann de Lesseps “can’t really sing”, and an earlier season claiming that de Lesseps was just going through her wedding because she had “something to prove”. Joe Giudice in New Jersey warning someone on the phone that his “bitch wife” was coming. Lee Anne Locken in dallas claiming that co-star Cary Deuber’s husband liked “getting his dick sucked in The Round Up.”

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Even the presidents of this beautiful United States have fallen prey to the hot mic, whether it’s Barack Obama muttering that Kanye West was an “asshole,” or Joe Biden recently calling a Fox News reporter a “stupid son of a bitch.”

But with all due respect to the leaders of the free world (and Barbara K.), the hot mic crown now belongs to Lisa Barlow.

Sunday night’s episode concluded with Barlow storming out of a heated argument over dinner during the cast’s trip to Zion. He headed straight for the bathroom where he burst into a tirade about his co-star and friend of over 10 years, Meredith Marks, whom, among other things, he calls a “whore” who “fucked half the New York”.

It was notable for how explicit and vicious it was, full of intimate accusations that a) only a close friend would know about, assuming he really is, and b) seemed to have been bottled up for a long time. Also, like every outburst in the real housewives from Salt Lake CityIt seemed to come out of nowhere.

A common theme of the show this season has been cast members spontaneously bursting into impassioned tirades and screaming and bashing with little to no preparation or context, confusing housewives and viewers alike. In this case, the women relied on Mary Cosby’s double standards and cruelty to the cast, whether that was defensible, and why Marks hasn’t done more to condemn the behavior. There was a brief moment when Jen Shah turned the conversation towards Barlow, but that was over by the time Barlow got up, walked away and started ranting and raving about Marks, not Shah or Cosby.

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Here’s the transcript of the hot mic moment, which deserves every dramatic read and viral meme treatment it gets. “Tom’s House Was Burglarized” by Erika Jayne monologue did in the recent season of beverly hills (Warning: explicit language):

Meredith can fuck off, I’m done with her. Because I’m not a fucking whore and I don’t cheat on my husband. Her and her stupid shit family that poses. Why don’t you have a house? Oh wait, you can’t, because your husband changes jobs every five minutes. Meredith is a fucking piece of shit. I had your back and I’m offended by it. Fuck you. That fucking garbage piece of shit. I fucking hate her. She is a whore. She fucked half of New York. She can go to hell.

The moment was teased for the first time in a trailer for the show, but it was unclear who Barlow was talking about, though fans suspected it was Marks. Marks and her husband had been separated for a while, and the cast spread rumors about Marks dating men in New York, but it had never been discussed with this kind of vitriol.

The moment was teased for the first time in a trailer for the show, but it was unclear who Barlow was talking about, though fans suspected it was Marks. Marks and her husband had been separated for a while, and the cast spread rumors about Marks dating men in New York, but it had never been discussed with this kind of vitriol.

Seeing the tirade in the context of the episode, it’s even more shocking that Barlow would say this about a former friend, but it’s also unclear what Marks did at the time to trigger it. There seems to be more behind the scenes that we haven’t seen…which probably explains why it all came to light when Barlow thought he wasn’t on camera and what he was saying probably wouldn’t be on the show.

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The Real Housewives franchise, throughout its run, has been criticized for enjoying presenting women at their worst for our entertainment, and whether or not that is misogynistic or culturally valuable. But that’s always been a myopic way of looking at a series that’s not just an anthropological study of a certain subset of women, but also has a funhouse mirror image of how wealth, power, and narcissism affect the entire body. social behavior.

Still, Housewives Critics may find it rude for fans of the show to revel in a moment so cruel and damaging to another woman’s reputation. But that’s the interesting thing about studying the reactions now that the episode has aired. Obviously beforehand people were salivating over what promised to be a juicy moment on television. However, there has been considerable backlash against Barlow for her comments and her empathy for Marks.

Bravo’s See what happens live!sacred land where housewives’ messiest moments are revered and exalted, treated the incident with grim gravity on the Sunday night after the episode premiered. Marks was the guest, and there was no vertigo from the lewdness of it all. Host Andy Cohen was stern and empathetic as he allowed Marks to react.

Like most of us, she’s not sure what triggered Barlow, saying she’s “still trying to figure that out” and attempted fact-checking and defending herself against the accusations leveled against her.

What we’re seeing, I think, is kind of an evolution of how Bravo fans interact with moments like these. There’s excitement in watching them, for sure, because it makes television captivating and is inevitably consequential when it comes to future drama on shows. But that excitement is tinged with restlessness and a certain dizziness.

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