The Real Housewives of Orange County
Before even one more moment of this lifetime can pass, we need to talk about Tamra’s hat that says #ClassyAF in rhinestones. This is the most amazing garment of clothing that has been worn on a Real Housewives show since Alex McCord’s fleshen shackles in the fourth season of Real Human Sacrifices of New Amsterdam. At first I thought, Please, that is not classy at all. That is something that you would buy in a Hudson News at the Charlotte airport because your hair looks like sin and you don’t want anyone to recognize you when you dive snout-first into a Costco-sized bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Then I realized: That is what is brilliant about this hat. Tamra knows that it is not classy, but she also knows that she is expected to appear classy for the cameras and that classy, to most awful Americans, means rocking something blinged-out while you knock people over with your quilted Vera Bradley bag as you shuffle toward the gate to fly to Cancun. This hat is actually ironic. Tamra knows it’s not classy and by acknowledging just how trashy it is, she is owning her self-image. She is dismantling the assumptions that we make about the capitalistic predications of fame and how that translates into money. It declares, “I know I am trashy and I don’t care. I am supposed to look like I have money when I have no money. I am breaking the machine from within.” This hat is a Marxist-theory term paper with a snapback, and it is fucking brilliant.
Tamra is wearing this hat at Glamis Dunes after everyone has survived that horrible accident in last week’s episode. Tamra is dismissed from the local hospital when they determine that there isn’t much wrong with her. Thank god. There isn’t much wrong with Vicki either, at least anything that’s medically diagnosable. She’s a few hours away in Palm Springs and the doctors determine that her neck is kind of messed up, but she’s fine to leave. However, she doesn’t have any clothes and has to take an Uber home wearing a hospital gown. Seriously? Vicki couldn’t have that Uber take her to the nearest Target and send the driver inside to get a pair of sweats and a T-shirt? You even get that when they discharge you from jail. And think about the five-star rating that driver would have gotten if he also showed up with a pink cowboy hat for Vicki to wear in the back and scream, “Woo-hoo!” into as she tried to fight off the slumber of the painkillers.
This is important because Vicki’s state of mind in the hospital and whether or not Shannon and Meghan should have helped her out is the thrust of this entire episode. I’m having a bit of a struggle with this issue because I am of two minds about it. First of all, I think that Heather and Tamra are right: If someone who you know even vaguely is in the hospital all alone, then you should go and help that person out. Being in the hospital alone sucks, not only because you might have to Uber home in a paper gown, but also because when you’re hopped up on all sorts of drugs and it’s hard to make decisions. It’s like trying to get Charlie Sheen to decide where to order Seamless from at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday.
The way that Meghan and Shannon were trying to avoid going to help Vicki in the hospital is also kind of gross. When Meghan was all, “You’re just as close as we are and you’re her friends,” I just wanted to punch her right in her nonexistent baby bump. (Every time someone writes the phrase “baby bump,” a little demon rips off your grandparents’ genitals in heaven.) All of the points that Heather and the other women made were accurate: They had just been in an accident, they had their kids with them, they didn’t have transportation. Still, the way that Meghan and Shannon seem to wiggle their way out of responsibility is gross.
However, there is something very Vicki-specific about why they didn’t want to go visit her in the hospital. Even Brianna, Vicki’s own daughter, thinks that she was exaggerating her pain a little bit for attention. Some of the other women were guilty of that as well — even Heather, who doesn’t have anything physically wrong so she says she has PTSD. She doesn’t have PTSD; she is just a little scared. It’s like when you’ve been mugged and you are on edge for a few weeks afterward and then, eventually, you forget about the trauma and go back to your normal life. PTSD is crippling and debilitating and messes up everything in your life. That does not happen at Glamis Dunes.
Anyway, what is even more specific to Vicki is that she has completely alienated both of these women by behaving like the sandworm in Beetlejuice for years. She’s treated both Meghan and Shannon like crap, so why should they be empathetic now? This is the person who aided and abetted a cancer faker last year and then blamed everyone else when they found out that he was faking cancer. Why should they care that much about her well-being? If you want people to be concerned about you, maybe you shouldn’t treat them like a big old pile of turds. This is karmic justice for Vicki, and frankly, she deserves being deserted in a hospital on her own with no one but Jamal, her Uber driver, to listen to her complain about how stiff her neck is.
I also think that part of the problem is that Shannon and Meghan have no idea just how bad the accident was and, when it’s being described by a gaggle of women who are prone to exaggeration (it’s really an occupational hazard) I could see how they would minimize exactly what happened. However, once Meghan realizes how bad the accident really was, she handles it appropriately and approaches Vicki and says how sorry she is. That scene plays out nicely, with Meghan issuing what appears to be a sincere apology that she didn’t understand what was happening and that Vicki would need help and that she treated her poorly. It was a very sweet scene and the sunlight flowed in like honey and birds rested on their shoulders and they all sang a sweet song.
Where everything goes wrong is when Meghan is at dinner with Heather and she tries to be all mad about being hung up on. Yeah, being hung up on is stupid, but it’s really not that big of a deal once you’re old enough to no longer watch the Disney Channel. Meghan also tries to double-down on why she didn’t go to the hospital and tries to avoid responsibility and it is truly the wrong tactic. Eventually she gets to the same place of understanding with Heather but, man, she really drags her through the ringer to get there.
Then, as they settled that Meghan was wrong and everything would be right with them in the future, the light of her apology seethed forth across the restaurant, bathing everything in a luscious glow that looked like a June sunset or the best Snapchat filter that algorithms could devise. They were washed clean in a river of forgiveness that buoyed their bodies and souls, floating them off into that bright sunset glow where this argument could be forgotten forever and they could move on to other fights and recriminations without ever having to revisit this misunderstanding again — at least until next week.