The Real Housewives of Orange County
Hi, I’m Ben Rimalower, former vice-president of gift-shop sales at the Real Housewives Institute. I’ve been away at “camp” serving time for some alleged malfeasance with our tip jar, but am out on good behavior. Thanks to the generosity of Brian Moylan and everyone at the Institute, I’m working my way back up via an internship with the janitorial department and hope to be back to my former glory by the end of the year.
In the meantime, I’m filling in for Brian for the next two weeks of Orange County recaps while he’s in Brazil for a surgical procedure that has nothing to do with his butt.
I must say, as a relative newcomer to the wonderful world of Orange County (not including time I spent in Irvine as a kid visiting my step-cousins…), I just don’t know where to start. Do I begin with Shannon, the housewife who immediately captured my heart? My soul yearns to hold her and squeeze her and convince her that she herself is enough just the way that she is. I want her to know that there are homosexual men all over this hemisphere (like Lydia’s husband) who would be thrilled to take her out on the town and make her laugh and turn that frown so far upside down she won’t remember how to turn it back.
I could talk about Tamra, but I don’t have much to say except she’s pretty and I really like her and I’m not sure I can trust her. Yes, I also want to join her gym to watch her husband sweat — #shiteverybodysaysaboutallthehousewives #baptismbyliar — but let me get back to you on that. I have “Naked Wasted” on my to-watch list, along with Dog Day Afternoon and the new season of Difficult People.
Also, I’m thrilled to jump onboard at the exact moment the Eileen Davidson Accord stipulates judgment may begin on new Housewife Peggy Kardashian. Um, was that even my best reference? So many things come to mind. Melania Trump. Laura Benanti as Melania Trump. My brother’s hot ex-girlfriend in Brentwood. That lesbian queen from Game of Thrones with the bitchy snake-daughters. Let me just say this: Peggy and her husband bring a welcome new flavor to the traditional trope of Real Housewife malapropisms. The whole meta moment of beating the dead horse — when the dead horse in question is itself a belabored riff on the very expression “beating a dead horse” — is given a delicious button in Mr. Peggy’s conclusion that she doesn’t know these “figure of speeches.” I think between the two of them, they could really make “Lambo” happen. Also, WTF was with the using babies as a shield thing? Oh, and she should always do that high thing with her hair in front. Love it, love it, love it. Looks good on her man too. Do not like her hair in the interview or the Sip-N-See. K, thanks.
And then there’s Lydia. Is it me or is she insufferable? I can’t decide whether to take the high road or get all judgy about her painfully heteronormative parenting style and my sincere wish that one of her various sons (for whom she WILL NEVER GET TO BUY A TUTU) comes out as trans or at least gender fluid. See? I’m a good, goddess-fearing, woke liberal. But also, can I just be bitchy for a moment? What is with her face? Seriously? She looks like this one woman I always see on the L train who is about three feet tall. Of course, I used to see Peter Dinklage on the L train and look where he is now. I’m cracking offensive, unfunny jokes in a Housewives recap, so who’s really laughing? Literally no one.
What else am I missing? Didn’t Lydia and Shannon part on bad terms last week? Did I dream that? I’ve been cramming RHOC to prepare for this. Maybe that was another season? I thought Shannon stormed off from a ball pit incident after Lydia denied that her mom had ever seen the light in Shannon.
Okay, real quick: Meghan. Like her. She’s so pretty. Seems nice.
Oh god, Kelly! I’ve been so hating her in my RHOC binge, but she’s pretty innocuous in this episode. The worst thing you could say about her — besides how she uses both crusty and hoo-ha to describe a part of her own body — is that her jumping around at the smoothie sit-down resulted in terrible continuity with Shannon’s green juice. Seriously, roll the clip. The script for that scene is like a ransom note. I don’t think the producers used two consecutive words in a row. And can we talk about the awkwardness of meeting friends at self-service establishments? That whole, “Hi, kiss-kiss. Please sit down. Or do you want to go get in line and buy yourself something?” It works here, though, because Tamra gets the chance to make sure Shannon isn’t having an aneurism. Thank goddess, she is not. Progress!
Finally, the chance I’ve been waiting for. It’s time for my two cents on Victoria Gunvalson (née Steinmetz, formerly Wolfsmith). Fricking-A, this isn’t just her show, this is HER FRANCHISE! Real Housewives of Vicki Gunvalson! I’m sorry, Andy Cohen (née Steinmetz, formerly Rimalower) who? I don’t know her.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that Vicki Gunvalson is an awful person. Is she even a person, though? I honestly cannot answer that, despite the 283 hours of RHOC I have watched in the last two weeks. Not to mention my multiple guest appearances on the popular podcast Andy’s Girls where hours of Talmudic discussion have helped me arrive at the conclusion: Hot damn, Vicki is good television! As a matter of fact, it may even be an act. Throughout my research, I’ve been preparing a theory that Vicki is actually wonderful (Exhibit A: her fabulous daughter Brianna), but that kind of fell apart this week when Grandmother of the Year locked a kid in the garage so long that he pissed himself. Anyhoo, back to my original idea: Vicki puts the “two hundred” in two-faced. Sure, I’ve seen Housewives lie and flip-flop so hard they forget the difference. But whether they were ill-intentioned or stupid or both, I’ve never seen the skillful, stone-faced duplicity practiced by the Big V. Seriously, girlfriend should get a job with the Trump administration (or goddess willing, the Trump Organization post-impeachment, praised be Allah and Buddha and that planet where Scientologists come from).
Let’s spend the next two weeks talking about Vicki’s Trumpian notion (I would call it a belief, BUT COME ON) that apologies are owed on “many sides.” Flawless. Or her saying — with a straight face — that she wants her friends back. Or the genius of her making Tamra the bad guy so we don’t hate her for being mean to Shannon, that punching bag with a heart of gold. Don’t we kind of want them to reconcile? They both had the wherewithal (sechel, as we say in Yiddish, if any of my peeps in the old country are reading this on bootleg schtetl Wi-Fi) to say what everyone was thinking, “What the hell is a Sip-N-See?”
Still, how much did you love Vicki’s chickenlike cluck-snort upon hearing that Shannon blames her (EVEN PARTLY) for her weight gain. I would actually like to blame her for mine too. And, and, and! I really loved Vicki when the toy shop suddenly got quiet at the exact moment Kelly yelled, “Vibrator!” and Vicki, after a perfect beat, remarked to the cashier, “Beautiful store.” That is great television acting. You hear me, Emmys? Look out, Julia Louis-Dreyfus!
The last mazel of the week goes to my girl Shannon, who finds the perfect Chanel dress for I can’t remember whose non-baby shower. Shannon! Just move to New York already for God’s sake. Orange County? Blech.