The Real Housewives of Orange County
We have seen a lot of frightening things this Halloween season, but nothing filled me with chills like seeing Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. suffering a fake heart attack and being wheeled out of a hotel room in Iceland, covered in a bathrobe like she is a bed-sheet ghost in a haunted house constructed by the Brady Bunch children. When they pulled her out of that room seated on a gurney covered in the finest plush terry, I jumped up off of my couch and unleashed a high-pitched squeal like someone had just filled my coochie with fire ants. I screamed to my boyfriend, who was seated next to me, “Make it stop! Make it stop!” like there were a bunch of demon fingers stabbing at my taint. I couldn’t. I, for the life of me, could not even for one second more.
As we all so rightly surmised after last week’s episode, Vicki’s heart attack was entirely phony. I shouldn’t say she faked it, like Brooks faked cancer, but she was having a panic attack that she thought was a heart attack. There is so much great television to come out of one woman’s mental discomfort that I don’t really feel so badly reveling in it. My favorite moment is when she is lying in bed and a man who is a doctor arrives in her room. It seems like he is maybe a doctor staying at the hotel, because he isn’t in uniform like the paramedics that arrive after him. Anyway, he asks Vicki what is wrong and she says, “My heart is beating fast and my hands are numb.” He asks if there is any pain and she says no.
He knows, at that moment, that this woman is absolutely full of shit. He still asks her if she has heart troubles and she says yes. “Do you know what it’s called?” he asks her. She does not. Because Vicki doesn’t really have anything significantly wrong with her. This guy is like, “You got me out of a hot tub full of three naked twinks for this?” (In my imagination, this bitchy doctor is at the resort as part of a gay bachelor party.)
Seriously, this guy knows that if you’re having a heart attack, you are going to have a significant amount of chest pain. Hell, anyone who has ever watched even one of Dick Wolf’s baker’s dozen shows set in Chicago will know that chest pains are the symptom of a heart attack. The women keep barging into the room and this doctor — who is probably a gay gastroenterologist in Seltjarnarnes and knows nothing about hearts — wants them all out of there. “Can you talk to her,” he says to Tamra, who barges to her bedside, “while I take her blood pressure.”
What’s odd about this medical emergency is that all of the women know it isn’t a real medical emergency. Anyone who has ever watched more than two episodes of this show knows that Vicki is making something far worse out of this than it really is. That’s why they all keep barging in there when the doctors and about 1,900 paramedics are trying to do their jobs. Finally, they’re banished to the hallway because the professionals refuse to work while a bunch of hare-brained Americans shout over them and tell them how to do their jobs.
And so, they go into Peggy’s room next door and Lydia walks in and says, “Whose room is this? It’s cool.” Write that down in your little notebook of ideas for Nobleman magazine. During all the conflama, Lydia decides that it’s time to say a prayer for Vicki in the hallway. I would say, “Sweet Mary and Joseph,” but that might make Lydia think I want to join her Bible study group. Vicki does not need prayers. She needs to throw up, take a Klonopin, and unclench for about seven seconds. Jesus helps those that help themselves and Vicki is helping no one but the producers of this reality television program.
Still, everyone knows that Vicki is kind of faking it and they’re starving so they go to have dinner. Lydia, the world’s most condescending stork-human hybrid, goes to see Vicki in the hospital while they eat. I do think that if you’re on a group trip and someone has to go to the hospital — no matter how bogus her claims may be — someone should travel with her. It sucks to be alone in the hospital, even if you are a narcissism-based hypochondriac.
However, Lydia and Peggy holding it over everyone’s head is a little beyond the pale. By the time Peggy finally gets to the hospital, Lydia and Vicki are ready to turn around and come right back home. They are waiting on Peggy to leave. It is, by and large, an empty gesture. Vicki is diagnosed with “high blood pressure” and an acute case of being batshit. Lydia even rolls her eyes about her having a “case of the Vickis” — something that everyone who stayed at the table eating seafood soup could have told these newbies. Special points go to Kelly for saying “in shifts” repeatedly and shouting, “I’m enjoying myself” when feeling pressured into going to the hospital. I don’t always agree with Kelly, but she sure always finds a way to make me laugh, which makes me like her more than I like most of the goobers on unscripted television.
The most points go to Tamra and Meghan, who tag-team the idea of getting Vicki a casserole so that when she gets back from the hospital she would finally get the casserole that she always wanted during the whole Brooks drama. That is some passive-aggressive trolling of the highest order. Tomorrow, in Congress, Maxine Waters is going to present a bill that this stunt be given a special commendation in the reality TV arts and sciences because it is that bold and iconic.
The best part is, as soon as Vicki walks in, they don’t even ask her how she is. (Please, they all know she’s fine.) They just shout, “We got you a casserole!” The best best part is that Vicki doesn’t even get it’s a bit. She’s like, “Really?! A casserole?! For me?! You’ve been listening to my catchphrases?!” That’s like if the Queen of Jordan presented Donald Trump with the world’s tiniest pair of mittens and he said, “These are the world’s tiniest mittens and they are in the Guinness Book of World Records because they’re so remarkable and they fit me perfectly. I have the best, record-breaking mittens.”
Instead of going to bed and getting some rest like the doctor ordered, Vicki decides to stay up with the women in Shannon’s room drinking Champagne until 5 a.m. I have to give props to the producers of this show because we read them for filth last year when there were crazy fights in the middle of the night in Ireland and they didn’t get any footage of it. I don’t know if they installed some cameras in all the rooms or what, but we get gold from Shannon’s little coke-fueled sitting room. (Not that the women are doing the Icelanding Rowing Powder, but the furniture sure is.)
What we get is Vicki and Tamra finally hashing out all of their issues, which, we all know, really go back to Tamra being pissed at Vicki for choosing Brooks over her and Vicki refusing to see how she needs to apologize for that decision. At one point, Tamra literally screams, “Just apologize to me, Vicki!” and Vicki, instead of apologizing, says, “I have!” But, oh, she has not.
Whatever, I’m not going over this half-decade-long fight once again, just like I don’t need to put my wisdom teeth back into my skull to pull them out again. However, what is amazing is a drunk Shannon on the couch not ten feet away, growling, “Fucking liar!” repeatedly under her breath like a tiger with Tourette syndrome. This finally ends Tamra and Vicki’s tear-soaked love-in. I hate to say it, but Vicki is right: Shannon can’t have Vicki and Tamra make up because the only bond she and Tamra share is their mutual hatred. Also, Shannon can’t let go of her hatred of Vicki because it would make her examine everything that is wrong with her own life. (Yeah, I saw that she and David are separated. Thank God!)
Things get even crazier as Peggy and Kelly get into it because Kelly is sick of Peggy telling her what to do all the time. Peggy eventually tells Kelly that she is going to have her husband call Kelly’s husband. I don’t quite understand where that came from, but it is an incredibly odd thing for one woman to say to another, especially when both women have been conscripted into Bravo’s Personal Assault Army that is known as the Real Housewives. Tamra finds this line so funny that she pees her pants and then continues to wear her piss-soaked drawers for another day. Well, figuratively lolling around in her own mess isn’t good enough for Tamra; now she has to do it literally. (Maybe she should get Lisa Rinna to send her some of her adult diapers.)
Yes, it seems that Peggy has no clue what she signed up for. Not only is she unprepared for Kelly’s personal attack, but she also decides to not leave her room the next day while the rest of the women go off to terrorize a sleepy fishing village that seems like it is totally deserted. Maybe it’s like some kind of Brigadoon and all the residents disappear when the Six Horsewomen of the Apocalypse approach.
Yes, Peggy decides to stay home as if she is not contractually obligated to mix it up with these women for every waking moment while she’s on this vacation. Someone needs to tell Peggy that this is not a vacation, it is a work trip. This is part of the job description, take it or leave it. She says she doesn’t want to spend time with women who wouldn’t defend her against Kelly, and she’s not wrong. But this isn’t real life, this is Real Housewives.
This is a realm where even the Icelandic fairies fear to tread, where they hide out in the bush and under the craggy rocks that surround their strange hotel with its themed rooms. They’ll come out and giggle for a gay doctor’s poppers-fueled stag party, but they retreat whenever these women come around with their plights and gripes. They take themselves considerably away into mountain or sea or sky, leaving only the demons behind to stab us with their many-pronged teeth, to sidle up into their brains making their thoughts and hearts race, making their blood boil and letting their pee run freely, forcing Peggy to cry into her leatherette sofa and call her husband on the phone, asking in a weird language that only the two of them understand how she can someday come home again.