Shahs of Sunset went on hiatus May 2020 after a troubling end to Season 8, which saw such moments as Reza Farahan shout down Mercedes Javid at a party with the infamous line: “Your uterus exploded because you had an abortion!” How they initially fell out was somewhat confusing—it had something to do with a game of strip Jenga and allegedly false accusations about sexts from Reza’s husband to men around West Hollywood. Merc, meanwhile, almost died during childbirth with baby Shams and Reza never went to see her in the hospital. I think that clears it up? Anyway, the two are back for Season 9, and while there may be no hope for their once-friendship, their troubled show has never been better.
A lot has changed for the Shahs since the last season wrapped in the early days of the pandemic. The show’s hiatus was longer than most other Bravo shows mired in coronavirus regulations, which actually ended up working in these enfant terribles’ favor. They had plenty of life to live since filming wrapped, including Golnessa Gharachedaghi (“GG”), who gave birth after an excruciating series of in vitro fertilization treatments. In the opening moments of the premiere, she seems as shocked as viewers are that she was willing to give up her daily blunts and tactical knife collection for a baby. Elsewhere, Reza and husband Adam have taken up baking, a marriage pivot best illustrated by Adam’s gargantuan new beard. Destiny Rose bought a house across the street, and her teeth look whiter than ever. She even has a walk-in closet for all her wigs now, which feels like an upgrade for the party planner-turned-MJ replacement. Her and Reza discuss this somewhat, with the latter revealing he hasn’t spoken to MJ in over six months.
For a pair that was once surgically attached to each other, I am still as shocked as Reza pretended to be on Destiny’s new patio, complete with shiny new furniture. Speaking of MJ, baby Shams seems healthy and full of life. Reza still hasn’t dropped the restraining order against her husband Tommy, a sore subject for both. In his defense, if someone screamed to a party full of strangers that I deserved to have my uterus explode because of an abortion, I would also ask my husband to go destroy their backyard. Unlike Tommy, I’d also ask my husband to not get caught on camera in the process.
When Reza texted MJ that they should catch up, Tommy was against it. Why wouldn’t he be?
Speaking of big, juicy men with too much aggression, Mike Shouhed is definitely cheating on his girlfriend again. How many times has it been? I’ve lost count. He and my mortal enemy Nema Vand linked up at Mike’s new lovenest in Downtown Los Angeles, where they stood by the window and gawked at all the hot women in the pool below before joining them for a swim. Nema spent a few minutes gawking at Mike’s nipples; to his credit, Mike has extremely good nipples. I would also stare!
Contrary to last season, which was dominated by the falling out between MJ and Reza, Mike has returned to his rightful place as the primary antagonist. Everyone, and I mean everyone, believes he is cheating on Paulina (again.) When MJ had the pair over for a surprisingly mature dinner party, Mike explained that she and everyone else in their friend group received a series of late-night texts from Paulina the previous day, including a dozen screenshots of Mike seemingly sexting with some random woman. As Mike explained it, his phone got hacked, and then he lost access to his iCloud, and the hacker had a vendetta against him, so they set him up by fake-sexting with a random woman to make him look bad to Paulina, who tracks his communications.
Nobody bought it, not even Paulina. Thankfully, the blatant lies led to what will be the most memorable reality television moment of the year: when the Shahs dramatically read the sexts to each other. I was doubled over laughing until I got blue in the face and passed out from a lack of oxygen.
Destiny also said the first actually accurate observation of the episode, at least as it pertains to Mike: “The reality is Mike is very good at pointing fingers and changing partners so he doesn’t have to change himself.” Less eloquently, GG called him a nymphomaniac who doesn’t think what he does can be called cheating, since it’s an “addiction.”
OK, whatever. The episode wrapped on a screaming match between Paulina and Mike, from which she fled from a moving vehicle while Mike yelled, “you’re drunk!” and “they’re filming us!”
Last season, the Shahs were mired in the most taxing reality television feud I’ve ever been witness to—even including the Real Housewives breakdown between Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump. It was toxic and ugly and un-fun. The magic of Shahs of Sunset, however, is that these people are actually friends, unlike most of the Real Housewives and their cohort. Sure, they gossip and lie and cheat and steal from each other, but there is a real connection between them that has kept this train chugging along for almost a decade. It’s obvious they party and hang out between seasons, and vacation with each other, and run in similar friend groups. Can the same be said for the other Bravolebrities in their zip code? Not in the least.
One question remains after last night’s premiere, and I will eagerly await some clarification: What does Mike love more? Texting strangers about anal, or his girlfriend?