RHOSLC Season 4 Proves We Never Needed Jen Shah

Jen Shah wanted so badly to be the star of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but thanks to her absence the series has officially hit its stride. And the Season 4 finale, which aired on Tuesday, was the cherry atop the sweetest season yet.

RHOSLC’s Jen Era was marked by yelling, screaming, throwing things — shoes off a yacht, drinks at parties, etc. — which, to reality TV-averse people, may seem like the petty drama reality viewers are after. But it’s not. The better kind of Bravo spectacle was Season 4’s confusing, winding, gossipy game of figurative telephone as secrets were spilled to some, but not to others, until truths eventually emerged to all — culminating in Heather’s actual explosive phone call about Monica.

But before we get to that, let’s take a moment to relish in the aesthetics of the Dateline-esque finale — the montage of revelatory flashbacks, the discovery of a series of unpaid bills, a secret seaside meeting with a desperate call for action and an accusation by a woman clutching a voodoo doll at dinner. Then, at the center of it all, an alter ego named Reality Von Tease. Does it get more soapy and over-the-top than that?

Now that we’ve paid our respects to the instantly iconic imagery that can only be described as cinematic, let’s get to that ominous phone call. Who was the caller? One of Heather’s informants. Why did Heather need an informant? Because she was looking into new cast member Monica. Why was she looking into Monica? Because things weren’t adding up! What did the phone call reveal? That Monica is an anonymous, online Instagram troll that operates under the name Reality Von Tease — a page that has doggedly spread rumors about the RHOSLC

cast for years. Monica, however, claims she used the account as a tool to expose Jen’s wrongdoing.

This was shocking news, since to many viewers, Monica was the direct antithesis to Jen and brought an innocent immaturity to a series nearly stained by her predecessor’s crimes. But Heather’s discovery was the perfect, melodramatic and confusing conclusion to a season that was so wacky and perplexing, we couldn’t look away! Yes, all season we were completely lost — and we loved it!

Let me explain: In Season 4, instead of relying on the staccato of a single, unpredictable outburst from Jen, the series played into the unknown. Take Meredith’s Episode 3 reveal of the “rumors and nastiness” she’d heard about Angie. Meredith never actually disclosed the rumors, but cleverly launched an informal social investigation into Angie’s personal life by the mere suggestion of wrongdoing. And the group then, over the rest of the season, posed a few major questions (none of which have been answered — this is a game of telephone after all): Is Angie’s husband faithful? Is Angie part of the Greek mafia? Has anyone looked into Angie’s finances/how is Angie so rich? Without anyone knowing for sure whether the answers to these questions were the “rumors and nastiness” to which Meredith was referring. And thus, the payoff of a single comment became more satisfying and languid than the immediate shock from a drink thrown by Jen.

Then, Meredith brought to the group that she and Monica had received and discussed salacious DMs about fellow cast members — once again silently and secretly seeming to imply that Monica herself might have had something to do with the messages. And Heather took note.

So yes, the finale reveal was exciting and shocking on its own, but all of Season 4’s ambiguities and uncertainties fueled similar conversation and consumption for fans beyond our weekly hour of voyeurism. For weeks, we could endlessly indulge in the goings on of other people’s lives — which some may dismiss as the desire to “gossip,” but can more accurately be described as an interest in social dynamics and the quotidian. How is Angie so rich? Was Heather exploiting Whitney in her book? How would you react to Lisa’s missing ring meltdown? And now, what will happen to Monica?! Is she the hero or the villain? In prior seasons, when Jen was around, all we could really say was, “Yikes.” Right was right and wrong was wrong.

So thank you to whoever called the FBI to Beauty Lab + Laser last season (Monica?) for getting rid of wannabe star Jen. Without the distraction of her outbursts and the subsequent conversations to pick up the pieces, the cast Heather could quietly scheme, whisper and investigate beneath the surface-level storylines to end the season with a dramatic demand: Pack your bags, Monica! (The first time a Housewife has formally ousted a fellow cast member.) Bravo, Bravo!

What were your thoughts on RHOSLC Season 4? And will you tune in for next week’s reunion? Let us know in the comments!

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