The Real Housewives of Orange County Recap: Spartan Coexistence

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Run for Your Wife
Season 12 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo/NBCUniversal

There are two main problems facing this season of The Real Quinoa Roasters of Newport Beach HOV Lane. The first is that Vicki won’t hang out with anyone and no one wants to hang out with Vicki. Yes, she is the OG of the OC and many people can’t possibly imagine this show without her, but maybe it’s time that we started? If you think about it, the main reason that the show has to keep adding new cast members is so that Vicki will have someone to hang around with. First it was Shannon Beador. Then, when Vicki pissed off Shannon, she started hanging around with Kelly Dodd. Now that Shannon and Kelly are starting a relationship, Vicki has moved on to the new Housewife Peggy.

The joy of any of the Real Housewives shows is seeing the ensemble hang out, whether it’s to have a drunken blast on a trip, to hold hands during vaginal rejuvenation, or to tear each other to shreds over some petty slight. However, if no one will hang out with Vicki, no one will talk to her, and she won’t talk to anyone else when they’re in the same room together, then this is just like a PTA meeting with passive-aggressive slights and curt hellos. We’re not watching to see them pussyfoot around each other, we’re watching for the verbal carnage that can only happen at a Bunco party (whatever that is).

Now, speaking of new Housewives who have been recruited so Vicki will have friends, I must say that Peggy is a real dud. Based on what we’ve seen so far, she doesn’t seem like a bad person (but if you read the rumors about how she’s treated her gay brother, that may indeed be the case). She just seems horribly miscast. All that Peggy has really done is tell Meghan to get over her fight with Vicki, tell Tamra to get over her fight with Vicki, and generally turn her nose up at everything that this show usually peddles in. Does she know what she signed up for? I think not, because Peggy seems like a Jewish vegan at an all-you-can-eat pig roast.

Just watch what happens in this episode, when Shannon has lunch with Peggy and brings up the fact that Tamra was upset by their last interaction. “If Tamra is upset, why is Shannon telling me? We’re adults. Call me,” she says. Um, yeah, that’s not how this Real Housewives thing works. So … um … okay. At the same lunch, Shannon also starts questioning whether or not Peggy had a mastectomy because she might or might not have had cancer. I literally yelled at my screen, “Oh no, bitch. Don’t you start with this again. I can’t handle another season of Bravo’s least favorite game show Kill All Cancer.”

This isn’t the only horrible Peggy lunch, either. There is also the one where Tamra tells her that she has resting bitch face. I mean, that is not something you tell someone. That is not a compliment. That is not even an observation. That is just cruel. But she is right: Peggy’s demeanor is just flat and unreadable. The only thing about Peggy that isn’t flat is her hair, which is always teased up and piecey, like a papier-mâché project gone horribly awry. They eventually made up when Tamra very tactfully tells Peggy that she had no clue what was going on between her and Vicki, so she should just keep her mouth shut. Peggy agrees, and peace and cucumber water rule the land.

Oh my God, I forgot about another one of Peggy’s awful lunches this episode: the one she has with her husband, Diko, a Kinder Egg prize you find abandoned underneath someone else’s couch. When they’re at lunch, Peggy, who has the sense of humor of a dead potato bug and the same knowledge of modern American idiom, asked Diko to do the “butterfly.” This is a move where he puts his hands in front of his face and then flaps them rapidly together, like two playing cards caught in the spokes of bicycle wheel.

Boy, is this annoying. I mean, if Diko wants to badly impersonate flying insects, then by all means. What is really annoying is that he waits for the waitress to come back to the table and then he just flaps his hands at her like Rain Man after missing an episode of The People’s Court. She does not want to be part of your joke. She’s just doing her job and making her look like a fool so that they can have a giggle in the empty courtyard of a third-tier restaurant is just inhumane. She is not making $3.29 an hour plus tips to deal with this bullshit.

As usual, Shannon Beador carries this episode, but mostly it is through her awful relationship with her husband, David. Him telling her to “flip the switch” in her brain to start liking exercise is just brutal. Sure, it must be hard for him to hear her complain about weight gain all the time without doing anything about it, but that is just awful and condescending. The other problem with their relationship is David’s addiction to Spartan races. He exercises for them twice a day and then goes off to compete in them without Shannon, but with all of her friends.

David has clearly found a hobby that not only is Shannon unwilling to engage in, but is also physically incapable of engaging in — as we were reminded by the very cruel editors who interspersed Shannon’s struggles in the gym with Lydia and her husband Doug’s audition for the next season of Christian Ninja Warrior. David continues to distance himself from his wife as she tries to hold on to her family and her body and her job and her sanity and her (half) sobriety, and the only thing that gives her any comfort is food. The further he pulls away, the closer he’s sending her to inhaling an entire bucket of KFC alone in her car as she cries in a mini-mall parking lot.

Personally, I could have done without so much coverage of the Spartan race, especially because Doug made the foolhardy decision to do it with his shirt on, but I did love that one of Lydia’s sons was afraid that his mother was going to burn up in a fire and be eaten by alligators while swimming in a lake. Sure, he’s going to hate that tape when his first girlfriend finds it a decade from now on NetTube (that is a merger of Netflix and YouTube that will happen in 2025), but it was cute, wasn’t it? Oh, also we get to see Lydia and her mother, Judy, do this weird thing where they fire finger blasters at each other and then kiss repeatedly in this weird rhythm. What is going on with these two? They’re like two Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers that came to life and won’t leave us alone.

They were almost as glittery and annoying as Meghan’s rainbow eye makeup to go have drinks during St. Patrick’s Day. What the hell? It’s like she made out with a Lucky Charms box and decided that was the right look for going out to celebrate her Irish heritage.

There is a nice moment at the season’s oddest gathering yet, when Kelly and Shannon work a little bit to repair their relationship while discussing Kelly’s blowup at Shannon’s ’70s party last year. It is the rare moment of healing where two women lay themselves emotionally bare, shedding some mutual tears between pints of green beer and taking shots directly from a bottle of Irish whiskey. Then Meghan, ignoring her cousin/nanny like usual, grabbed them both to her bosom and rubbed her Roy G. Biv face all over them, leaving glitter in their hair and a sadness in both of their hearts. Knowing all of these women, the détente won’t last long. It was as brief as the moment between an inhale and an exhale, but it was a pause nonetheless, and one that strangely enough let the sunlight in.

Real Housewives of Orange County Recap: Spartan Coexistence