The Real Housewives of Orange County
There was a moment during the third and (thankfully) final part of the Real Screech Monkeys of Glamis Dunes reunion special where I could swear I saw the lights in Meghan King Edmonds eyes flicker and then go out, like the candles on a weak-lunged child’s birthday cake. It was sometime around when Vicki was fighting about what she did or did not say about Shannon and whether or not that was true. Meghan issued a half-hearted response, something like, “But you did Vicki,” and you could see that her heart wasn’t in it. The little animating light that is her soul fluttered out of her body, got spooked by Andy Cohen’s walleye, and then jettisoned itself off to St. Louis or somewhere else safe to live.
It’s as if, in that moment, Meghan realized that she never wanted to have a fight like this ever again. She was done being the unstoppable force against Vicki’s immovable object. (And I’m not talking about her nipples, because those are objects that have been moved considerably.) Meghan realized that there was never any winning with these women. No matter how much stalkerish research she did, no matter how many times she talked to them in calm tones, no matter how often she checked their egos, this would never change. Being on one of these shows is not an environment that will ever improve. Instead, if Meghan — or anyone, really — wants to improve, they need to remove themselves entirely.
After Vicki’s performance during this final hour, I totally understand why the rumors are swirling that Meghan is moving to St. Louis and won’t re-up for a third season. I couldn’t handle looking at or talking to this woman for 42 minutes (without commercials!), so I don’t know if I could be contractually obligated to hang out with her and her flawless plastic surgery for four months of the year.
Maybe Meghan was feeling tired after that 20 minute discussion about the accident at Glamis, which is the most boring stretch of reunion special I’ve seen since the Atlanta reunion when the cast all went on strike and decided not to fight. Anyway, I thought these questions were already settled and we had gotten past them. Seeing the whole tired argument rehashed made me just feel like how Tamra’s mother feels after she eats two whole bags of Candy Corn on November 3 — tired, a little nauseous, and reconsidering all the choices I made in life to get me to this point.
However, I am intrigued about Shannon trying to get everyone really drunk at dinner in Ireland. Now, the rational side of my brain says that Shannon’s explanation was totally reasonable. She wanted to put a little pep in Kelly’s step and make sure that they got doubles, because the drinks at the hotel were light pours. I also know from experience that, in Ireland, they measure out each portion of alcohol, so I realize how that would seem like a tiny amount of liquor for a Housewife. So, yes, that seems like (somewhat) rational behavior. I also want to believe that this is true because part of me finds it very difficult to believe that women would conspire to get each other wasted for a reality-television program.
Then the part of the brain that acts as president and founder of the Real Housewives Institute awakens and says, “But these are not rational women and of course they would do something like that.” Then I want to listen to that part of my brain because, seriously, Shannon would totally do something like that. That is the sort of warped universe we have descended into.
Shannon’s messaging around the abuse allegations that Vicki leveled at her via Kelly is equally murky. She does address the 2003 arrest against David, but she says it was for a verbal argument because the police were called. Alright, I can believe that. She also says that she got blackout drunk right after she found out about the affair and tried to beat down a door and ended up bruised and bloody. That, I can also believe. (My favorite was when Kelly was like, “Oh, that makes sense, it happened when she was drunk!” because you know, without a doubt, that Kelly Dodd has woken up after a blackout bruised and bloodied with some day-old pad Thai tangled in her hair.)
But that still doesn’t adequately address exactly what Vicki thinks she said or what exact proof Vicki has that she’s lying. Shannon keeps talking about this Hawaii incident, but was there something else as well? I don’t believe that David beats Shannon, but I would at least like Vicki to say, “Here is what you texted me,” and have Shannon refute it so we can have a much clearer picture of this whole mess.
Really, though, Vicki is just disgusting during this entire exchange. Even Tamra Barney Judge — a noted wine thrower, rumor spreader, and hatemonger — thinks that she’s a better person than Vicki. (This is sort of like a rotten banana peel thinking it’s better than a statue of a one-armed general covered in pigeon turds.) It is amazing when Vicki says, “I didn’t want to bring this up,” and every woman on those couches and everyone on their couches at home says, in unison, “Of course you wanted to bring this up.” Shannon is right: Now that the allegations have come up, some people out there will believe that David beat Shannon. You can’t put this fist full of hair back in the weave, if you will. That is pretty deplorable behavior, especially because I feel like it isn’t true.
The grossest thing is that Vicki keeps hiding behind her own morality, saying that she didn’t want it to come up and that she told Kelly off camera so that it wouldn’t be on the show. The only way to ensure that it would never come up is to not repeat it, especially to Kelly Dodd, a woman whom Vicki barely knew when she told her. Vicki then changes course and says that she brought it up because the worst thing that can happen is a man hitting a woman. Yeah, except for maybe someone lying that a man hit a woman when he didn’t. We can all agree that spousal abuse is awful, but if Shannon wasn’t dealing with that issue, then all Vicki is doing is stating the obvious and somehow thinking it covers her. It’s as if she’s shouting, “Nazis are awful!” while running naked down the street and thinking no one can see her ass hanging out as it burbles by.
Finally, Andy Cohen ends with a little bit of healing and invites each women to say what they really regret this season. Vicki regrets that she told Kelly about Shannon; Kelly regrets having talked shit about Tamra’s daughter; Tamra regrets pushing Kelly; Meghan regrets not visiting Vicki in the hospital; Heather regrets the way she talked about Kelly on the van ride. They all wish they could go back and behave differently. And that’s it. When you boil it down, that’s every single issue that we dealt with this whole season. No one regrets Tamra’s bodybuilding or Terry Dubrow’s parenting style, which is the one thing I deeply regret having to watch.
If they really could do it all over, there would be no show. There would be no recriminations or accusations. No cursory apologies or apologies for those apologies not being apologetic enough. There would be no using the See You Next Tuesday word or telling people their chins are too hairy. Everything comes down to a paltry handful of regrets that, like magic beans, some producers threw on the ground so they could watch a beanstalk climb up and up and up, climbing through the atmosphere. They felt light-headed as it reached far up into the clouds, becoming so huge they couldn’t see the whole thing all at once, delivering us all to some fantasy land where regrets turn themselves into gold. We snatch them up like hording paupers, hoping the giants don’t attack us on our way back down to Earth.