This week’s Real Housewives of Orange County — sorry, Brian isn’t back yet so you’ll have to insert your own funny nickname here — starts with the same conundrum that all my RHOC experiences have put me in. Who is Vicki Gunvalson? Who is she, really?
We see Vicki at home with her wonderful son, Michael, and her wonderful daughter, Briana, and her wonderful grandsons, Laguna and Beach, and she has wonderful relationships with all of them. I mean, seriously, she’s a terrific grandmother. She’s great with those boys. She loves them to pieces and is proud of them and has fun with them, but she’s not a total shiftless pushover. Of course, she wants more of them, so she can’t wait for Ryan to get home and impregnate her daughter. (Not happening, Briana assures us.) She’s also adamant that Michael is wasting his time with girlfriend Dani if their sex is intended to procreate — “mating,” she specifies — but he also remains pretty steadfast in his desire not to further populate Orange County with his offspring at this time. All this is discussed in a warm, joking tone that plays quite believably and I imagine most of us would be pretty happy to experience it in our relationships with our own families.
Then Vicki heads to Lydia and Douglas’s (that’s what I’m calling him because, as a gay man, I know he prefers it) “Nobleman” magazine party in black leather and hair blown out … and I don’t know exactly why, but immediately I hate her again. I love to hate her, for sure, but it’s different than the pure love I feel for Vicki at home. Before she even opens her mouth at that party, I’m in full hate-watch mode. Sure enough, Vicki breaks her shade silence of the last few episodes to diss Shannon a bit, explaining that she loves the idea of Shannon picturing her while she stuffs her face “and doesn’t exercise.” Hey, girl, hey.
Ugh, that stupid Lydia party. Like, really? You’re so fancy. This magazine is for gentlemen. If I can just pass on some information, it isn’t Champagne if it’s from Sonoma. That’s California sparkling wine. It may be excellent, but fancy people wouldn’t mix that up. And Douglas, Douglas, Douglas. I love you, honey. I also love the ensemble you’ve put together, matching Lydia’s blue-toned scheme for the event. You know just what to do to make things perfect, don’t you? But the two cars for a birthday gift? That’s a little over the top. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to spend their money, but you don’t see any of the sexually unambiguous husbands buying their wives two cars — not even FICO or whatever Peggy’s husband is called, and he’s a car dealer for crying out loud. Also, I doubt FICO or any of the other men gave their wife a cheek peck and a “love ya” on their birthday. I mean, that is literally what I do with my girlfriends. And Lydia freaking knows. She even joked about him choosing the cheese balls because he loves balls. (I will not comment on the stupid, ongoing equivocation of a vasectomy with castration.) I really think there’s some crazy Christian gay-conversation stuff going down over there. OY VEY! They need to switch to Tamra’s church.
Anyway, at least Douglas didn’t kiss Lydia on both cheeks. I can barely take that in Atlanta or New York, but it rings extra false and pretentious in Orange County.
Okay, who else’s marriage can I go off on? Meghan seems a’ight, but the whole “Jimmy being away so much” thing is a little suspicious, especially on this show like this. What’s the thing in Chekhov plays? Or is it Ibsen? If there’s a gun in the first act, there’ll be divorce in the third?
The marriage I’m most concerned about is Shannon’s — okay, okay, hear me out. It’s the whole affair thing. I mean, it’s not NOT that, but I could co-sign my girl forgiving and moving on. Shannon just seems so unhappy and so insecure and I don’t feel like David is very supportive of her, not to mention her business plans and her cooking. But even if he were, she’s so needy and weird about it. Why do they have to be codependent in their dieting? Let him have chips! She can make her own choice. I don’t know that his behavior would fix this. And what’s with her thing about affordable health food? Sure, it might be a great idea, but she starts off saying it won’t be profitable. WTF. It’s like she’s on a suicide mission to sabotage her marriage. So much unresolved anger and hurt. I just don’t see her working through it as long as they’re together. I will say I think David is really hot. Like, hi. Seriously. (I wish, I wish, I wish he were the homo, but I just don’t see it.) I just want Shannon to be happy, not a mess who goes to a party and spends the whole time complaining about how there isn’t enough food and she didn’t eat all day.
You know who does eat? Kelly. Child loves food. She loves to party. She’s freaking social and loves life and don’t you forget it! She’ll have the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, please — extra lobster and extra cheese. If you are what you eat, she’s a lobster mac ‘n’ cheese in lipstick, all creamy and tangy and aspiring toward fanciness, but you know she’s trash. Not that I judge because, OMG, I love her mother. Her mother is like Lady Elaine, the puppet spinster lady on Mister Rogers. She’s wacky, she’s daffy, she’s my kind of dame. I wish Kelly were more like her.
I don’t have much to say about Peggy. I don’t like her. I’m sorry. She’s fine. But really? She’s gonna come for Tamra at the party, all condescending and superior? Know your place, lady. It was only last week we were even allowed to start critiquing you in this recap. Now would be a good time to ingratiate.
That said, I’m not sure why Tamra gets so bent out of shape about the whole thing. Maybe she’s just trying to be dramatic on TV. I wasn’t suspicious in her situation with her daughter, although blaming Vicki so much seems odd to me in retrospect. Yes, the whole thing about confronting her mom for not showing up to the benefit deal was very believable and I was even moved by their teary conversation. But still, something’s off. That tapas dinner with Eddie? It sounds 100 percent scripted. I am convinced somebody wrote that scene — not reality-TV bullet-point style, but word for word. And with the underscoring and the way they look, it played like a terrible daytime soap opera. Anyone who happened to flip on Bravo unwittingly would for sure have thought it was One Life to Live or whatever. I am not here for this.