The Real Housewives of Orange County
Everything about the trip to Turdburglar Mary’s is 100 percent wrong. It is like rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you already paid, or Alanis Morissette’s definition of irony. Every gay I know has been to plenty of drag bingo (shout to the genius that is Linda Simpson) and they all know that drag bingo does not mean that the contestants dress up in drag. What in the world gave these women the idea that they should dress up like the cast of Joe Dirt 3: Joe Meets the Planter’s Peanut Man to go play bingo at a gay hamburger restaurant?
The drag queen who hosts the thing is very sweet and lets them use her dressing room, but I think that her real feelings come out when Shannon gave a false bingo and got spanked in front of the crowd. “No one asked you to dress like this,” she said. Yes! She is exactly right. No one expects you to dress in drag for drag bingo. It’s like bringing your clarinet to jazz brunch or bringing a loofah to a baby shower. Even worse, no drag queen on the face of the Earth wants to be upstaged by a bunch of middle-aged ladies kitted out for a Rock of Love porn parody.
Lydia looks the absolute worst. She’s dressed up like someone shot Lurch from The Addams Family with a shrink ray but he was still wearing the same suit as when he was a giant. She looks about as comfortable as a baby at a dingo convention. She admits as much because she’s not sure how she should feel about gay people, drag queens, or dressing as someone of the opposite gender.
By why does she have her Hanes Her Way in such a wad? At one point she says, “The Bible doesn’t say anything about drag queens.” Yeah, it doesn’t. So lighten up! Who cares if people want to dress up in costumes? Who cares if people want to get spanked in public? It’s not hurting anyone, so God wouldn’t think it was a sin. I suffered through a decade of Catholic education so I know what I’m talking about. But then again, I’m Catholic and our priest wears dresses less ornate than the drag queen hosting this ordeal, so what do I know. I know this isn’t a sin, that’s what!
The real problem with dressing up for these events is that the women inevitably get into a squabble and then there will forever be footage of them yelling at the top of their lungs while dressed up like a 4-year-old’s drawing of America’s growing opioid epidemic. This time, Meghan and Kelly are screaming at each other because Kelly told Meghan she thought Shannon was recording their conversation and wanted to confront Shannon about it. Meghan doesn’t let Kelly do it, and then she calls Shannon to warn her.
But that’s not what they are really yelling about. They are really yelling about Kelly accusing Meghan’s husband, Jim, a GIF of Aretha Franklin giving someone the side eye that somehow launched a candle line, of having an affair. In retaliation, Meghan then asks Kelly if she is having an affair with a man who is a family friend. That is the real reason behind this particular feud, so it seemed like it was a long time coming and just happened to wait until everyone was wearing the most regrettable clothing possible. Shouldn’t Scott the psychic have seen this all coming? Couldn’t he have given someone a heads-up about it?
I’m starting to change my thinking a bit on Kelly Dodd. What if Kelly is always right? What if Shannon really was recording her and is playing dumb? What if Meghan is out to get her? What if she really has been wronged by all of these women and is really just a pawn in a greater war between Vicki and Tamra and Shannon? I think all of those things might be true.
The problem is Kelly fights to win. When Meghan tries to reason with her about why she gave Shannon a heads-up about the recording allegations, Kelly doesn’t retaliate by listening — she retaliates by saying that Meghan should be home with her daughter instead. For Kelly Dodd, the only option is always the nuclear option, and she finds the one button to push that will do the most damage. That is why Kelly can’t have any allies: They’re all destroyed in the collateral damage of her verbal mushroom clouds.
Meghan should have expected this to happen eventually. She says, “I’ve always seen this side of Kelly, but it was never directed at me.” Please, that’s like putting poison ivy in your window box and then waking up one day and wondering why you have a rash.
I really did like the return of Meghan King Edmonds PI this episode, though. When she has lunch with Vicki, she tells Vicki all the hard truths that she had to hear. She tells Vicki that she shouldn’t be spreading rumors about Eddie and Shannon. She told her that she really is a scammer, even if she didn’t think that she is. Then, when Vicki tries to say that she is really worried about Shannon’s safety, Meghan pokes a hole in that and asks why she didn’t call the police. It is like watching an expert fighter take on a 22-year-old who had been to capoeira class once at Equinox.
Vicki won’t even hear Meghan’s sanity, though. In her mind, she has been wrong and she will continue to hold onto those slights until the end of the Trump presidency (which is also exactly as long as our civilization is likely to last). She says things like, “I don’t want to hurt Shannon,” and “I don’t want to be an outcast,” without thinking at all about how her actions actually hurt Shannon or how they made her an outcast in the first place. Vicki couldn’t see herself if she were marooned on a planet made entirely of mirrors and MRI machines.
Now Vicki is completely isolated. Instead of getting in fights in costumes, which is very on-brand for Victoria Melanie Gunvalson (I made the Melanie up), she is talking about buying a boat with her children, grandchildren, and in-laws, a family activity that sounds about as fun as waiting out in the car for Vicki to get a massage. What is she even doing on this show anymore?
We have to ask this same question about Peggy as well. After the main story line of this episode, Vicki and Peggy are tacked on like two skin tags you’re too lazy to have removed because your dermatologist’s office is 45 minutes away. Peggy goes to New York with her daughter, fights with human butterfly Diko about whether or not their daughter should go away to college, and reveals that she majored in English. Yes, Peggy, who has the same knowledge of American idiom as large Weimaraner, actually majored in English and is now extolling the benefits of a college education. And she soldiers on, as the wind whistles through the hornet’s nest of her hair, fighting battles like a salmon swimming upstream or an heiress trying to close an overstuffed suitcase by sitting on it. Peggy soldiers on and we can do nothing but sit there and blink, like butterfly wings, finally shedding its cocoon like so much facelift gauze.