The Real Housewives of Orange County Recap: Desperately Seeking Shannon

By
Tamra Judge. Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Orange County
Episode Title
Stage Moms and Dropped Bombs
Season
11
Episode
12
Editor’s Rating
5/5

Thanks to LOCK, the Ladies of Rock, the Real Housewives Institute now has an official theme song. You might not be able to buy it on iTunes, but their debut single “Dream Catcher” is available in the gift shop for $3.99. The ditty by Shannon’s daugthers’ band is actually pretty great and catchy in a pop-punk sort of way. They sound a bit like the Donnas, except without the annunciation and the years of intrusive meddling by their mother.

It’s amazing how good they are considering that their music instructor, Sterling, is a man wearing a purple suit made from Grimace skins and a fedora that he bought at the merch booth of a Blues Traveler concert when John Popper was still carrying the weight. Seriously, what look is this guy going for? The drummer of the Squirrel Nut Zippers?

Of course, Shannon has bigger problems on her mind than hectoring her children about their musical performance (though she does plenty of that as well). We’re going to get to the mother-in-law in a bit, but first Shannon has a week to move and refuses to hire movers to help her because she thinks other people touching your stuff is icky. I mean just look at what happened when someone else touched her husband. Sorry, that was probably Hashtag Too Soon.

Anyway, Shannon has a ton of crap all over her house. She opens one closet and it’s all baskets full of napkin rings and bundles of fake flowers. She opens another closet and it’s full of chandeliers. There are light fixtures hanging out willy-nilly all over the floor, just waiting to pop to life and sing “Be Our Guest” in a bad French accent. Then she opens another cupboard and it is full of lampshades. Why does Shannon have so many lighting needs?

To make it worse, there are about 172 framed photos in her stairwell alone. Each one of those has to be taken down, wrapped, and packed. And this has to be done in ten days. It took me two weeks to pack up my apartment and it’s smaller than Shannon’s chandelier closet. She’s going to do all of this moving herself? Hell no. She’s going to get the Housewives to help her. This is the worst plan ever devised by an Earth human. If boxes could be packed by shouting then Shannon would have no problem. If the sound vibrations of their voices could lift her possessions into shipping crates, this thing would be a snap. Instead they come over and help by criticizing her clothing, dumping all of her crappy shoes on the floor, having an argument that's weaker than Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s legs (Hashtag Too Soon?), and then leaving.

I am devoting precisely one sentence to everyone making up about all their old fights about Kelly using the C-word and Meghan calling Tamra reckless because it is boring and we have so much else to get to, but, yeah, everyone kisses their boo-boos and moves on.

Seriously, I could write an entire American Studies dissertation about Brianna’s birthday lunch. First of all, Vicki is dying to get married again. “There is a reason people get married,” she tells us. “It’s because they don’t want to be alone.” Um, I’m not sure that’s the way it works for most people. Usually, you meet someone who shares your moral and sexual values and you connect with them on many levels both physical and spiritual and you want to celebrate that bond before god and community. If you don’t want to be alone, you hire a hooker. If you want to forge an intimate bond with another soul, then you get married.

Anyway, they’re at lunch for Brianna’s birthday and Vicki asks her son Michael if he has a girlfriend and he says, “Kinda,” which is really the most Michael answer to any question in the whole world. I feel like if you were at a barbecue and asked Michael if he wanted a hot dog or a hamburger he would say, “Kinda.” After this girlfriend revelation, Vicki doesn’t pepper him with questions about who she is and what she does and how old she is. Instead, Vicki tells him that she is dying to get married again and asks his advice on how she should meet guys because she is dying for company and sex. I’m sorry, but you are never old enough to hear your mom talk about her sex life. I am the most sex-positive person you will meet outside of a dildo factory and even I don’t broach that subject with my mother. She could come visit me in the hospital because I have drug-resistant gonorrhea and I would tell her that I just had a bad hangnail or something. (I better get my story straight now, because this is inevitable.)

Then Vicki launches into an account of how she is a catch and why she is really easy to deal with. Michael says that is not the case and that she is super difficult. Vicki is stunned by this. She then describes herself as “low-maintenance.” I would describe Vicki as a red-headed mermaid from the bottom of the sea before I would call her low-maintenance. Her son-in-law Ryan says, “You were just 30 minutes late to lunch for your hair appointment,” which is the perfect illustration of what a high-maintenance person would do.

Then Vicki says to her offspring, “I don’t cause fights.” Brianna nearly chokes on her chimichanga from shock and says, “Who are you talking about?” It was as if each person at the table played a litany of the times that Vicki has screamed at people in their heads at that very moment and, dutifully, the producers of that show put it in front of our eyeballs. This was a blessing because any day I can see Vicki Gunvalson in a ski parka shouting, “I have never had sex with multiple partners in my life,” is a day that I am so sexually aroused I don’t need to look at porn to climax.

The funny thing is, even after monopolizing her daughter’s birthday lunch to make it all about her sexual problems and displaying a blinding lack of insight into the way she behaves, Vicki still isn't the most awful parent in this episode. That honor belongs to Donna, David Beador’s mother.

I suddenly feel like the sun has peeked through the clouds to reveal the true reason why David Beador is the way he is. After Donna shows up to the LOCK concert unbeknownst to her son or daughter-in-law, she then proceeded to introduce herself to Shannon’s friends and talk shit about Shannon to each of them. This is some next-level awful shit. I would rather have the daughter of Imelda Marcos and Beelzebub as my mother-in-law than this woman.

First of all, she approaches Kelly and just blurts out, “Shannon never lets me see the girls because she hates my guts.” Kelly tries to stick up for Shannon, but Donna is having none of that. Then she goes and talks to Tamra to spread her Bible of hate some more. Eventually, she tells Tamra and Kelly that Shannon pushed David into having an affair.

All of this is just so crazy. Do we think that Donna sought out Tamra and Kelly, knowing that the cameras would be on them, so that she could get her truth about Shannon out to the masses? Was that her intent or was that just a byproduct of her being a horrible, manipulative person? Was she totally tanked? She seems a little slurry, and I know there were some drinks at the Blue Beet (named after the root vegetable, not the rhythm section), but it didn’t seem like anyone was really tying one on.

The family dynamics of the Beador clan just explode all over our faces tonight and I couldn’t be happier about it. How is it that the Beadors don’t have their own show? I want to see all of these characters trying to get along at Christmas dinner. It would just end with someone clobbering someone else over the head with a game of Connect Four because that was the closest moveable object they could hurl. Is that really too much to ask?

David handles the situation well because he’s had 16 years of dealing with this and he always takes Shannon’s side because Donna makes Shannon seem sane and grounded, which is a Herculean effort all its own. Yes, Shannon freaked out and screamed at him, but can you really blame her? Donna would claim she showed up to support her granddaughters, but it actually seems like she wanted another opportunity to make Shannon miserable. Shannon is letting her win by freaking out. It’s like Donna can’t have any relationship with her son anymore, so she would rather be loathed than be forgotten.

The person who really misses an opportunity, though, is Kelly. She keeps taking Donna’s side and being like, “But she misses the girls. She is trying to do the right thing. She was crying.” Did Kelly not see how upset this woman makes Shannon? If Kelly wants to get back on Shannon’s good side, all she has to do is be like, “Man, she is a bitch. Let me tell you about how awful my mother-in-law is. Gosh, Shannon, you have it so bad. I really hate Donna. She never should have showed up here.” Nothing creates an instantaneous bond like hating on the same person. Most of my most valued friendships are glued together with the unbreakable adhesive of mutual loathing. Kelly could have done that. Instead, she tries to take the side of a woman she just met at a child’s rock concert. Seriously, Kelly?

Shannon and David get in their limousine and drive home. As each passing streetlight fills the car with a grenade of light, Shannon flashes back to another memory. There was that time Donna showed up at the twins’ third birthday party and threw her cake in the trash because Donna had baked one of her own. There was that time Donna drove by the house and left crayons and coloring books on the front stoop for the girls even though she knew everyone was home. There was that time when she faked a heart attack just to have David rush over to her house and then spent an hour reading him Yelp reviews of divorce lawyers. Each memory came back, one after another, speeding up in her brain like the chugging of a train leaving the station. Shannon sighed because she didn’t know what else to do. She sighed because this is a battle she will be fighting until the day Donna dies. She sighed and she hoped that little gust of her breath could spin around itself and compound, building greater and greater force until it was as great as a cyclone that could lift up Donna’s house and fly it to somewhere she belonged.