The title of this episode is “Rumors.” That has to be the blandest, saddest title of a Real Housewives episode ever. And there aren’t even any rumors in the episode. So little happens on this show these days that the producers can’t even come up with one of their punning titles like “Tattling Tamra” or “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” or “Shannon Shouldn’t Drive While Crying.” Instead, one producer said, “What should we call this episode?” And the second producer, listening to Fleetwood Mac said, “I don’t know. ‘Rumors?’” To which the first one replied. “Ugh. God. Fine.”
Seriously, this show is like when you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket so you take it out and realize that it wasn’t vibrating at all. You want something to happen so badly that you’re just imagining that something is happening. That is what this show is now. The Phantom Rumbles of Orange County.
At least today, five episodes after her introduction, we are finally able to discuss the newest Real Housewife, Gina Kirschenheiter. I am happy to because I enjoy Gina. I haven’t been this excited about a new Housewife since the first time we met insta-legend LeeAnne Locken. Does that mean that Gina is one of the all-time greats like LeeAnne, Ramona Singer, or even Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr? No. She doesn’t have that same heady brew of narcissism and idiocy that it takes to make it into the Hall of Fame, but I think Gina is going to be a good utility player.
The thing I like the most about Gina is that she is fun. That is what this show really needed after the past several seasons when everyone was still marinating in the betrayal of Brooks’s fake cancer scheme and Shannon’s betrayal by David Beador. The show had gotten dark and acrimonious with long-standing feuds that would never dissipate.
That is not Gina. Gina is the kind of gal who will make fun of her kids for being a little bit stupid because, well, they’re kids. She’s the kind of gal who will show up for a poker party, get a little bit too drunk and loud, and not leave until someone kicks her out. She’s the kind of gal who won’t get mad at the Ring Toe of a husband because he kicked her out of the house even though it was a party and he never met her before. Gina is a good time and I am glad that she is around to be goofy, try on stupid outfits, and prod these ladies into not taking everything so damn seriously all the time. Heather Dubrow would hate her and I think that is a good thing.
There is one strange thing about Gina though, which is that her marriage ended sometime between filming this season and it being broadcast. It seems like part of her story line this season is going to be about how hard it is to be with a man who is gone all of the time, and this revelation saps it of a little bit of its drama because we know how this is going to turn out. It also robs us of meeting her husband Matt, who, based on the few Instagrams of him that exist on Gina’s page, appears to be a grade-A slab of hot man meat. He looks exactly like the model on a 24-pack of BVDs that you would buy at Costco. I can’t believe that we could be slobbering all over this guy and instead we’re stuck with Steve Lodge, a Glo Worm that turned into a retired cop.
Another positive of this season is that we get to hear all about Kelly Dodd’s love life, which sounds a little bit like a job fair at a community college. There is a milkman, a spinal surgeon, a Geek Squad manager, a lawyer, a car-wash engineer, and a handyman named Jack that Kelly is trying to convince to legally change his last name to Ofalltrades.
We actually get to meet her fling the Milkman who is, it turns out, an actual milkman but not Kelly’s milkman, so I guess the postman will have to keep ringing twice at Chez Dodd. He is really hot and super dumb, which pretty much describes every gay porn star that I ever interviewed and all exactly my type. He looks sort of like someone who would play a troubled teen’s father on a CW show. All he really does in their scene together is list types of Mexican food he likes as if he’s a former lacrosse player whose body has been taken over by the spirit of Bubba Gump.
The rest of this episode is, as the Milkman might describe it, basura caliente. We get a whole lot of filler, like Vicki embarrassing her son Michael by doing shots of Fireball in the middle of the day and talking about blow jobs and that weird dating intervention where Tamra forced Shannon to see a matchmaker even though she is not at all ready to date. Oh, and what about Shannon’s photo shoot where she looked like a real-estate broker for condos for recently divorced fathers? Not only boring but also a little bit sad.
The big fight was about how Emily’s husband Ring Toe kicked Gina out of the house for being loud and did it quite brusquely. Gina, being new to this game, didn’t really get that upset about it or demand an apology, but all of the other women got upset about it on her behalf because they know that they can cling onto a social impropriety and wring it for all the drama its worth for at least a good four episodes. Sure, I could watch Kelly and Vicki talk about what it’s like to marry a Mormon in the back of a Suburban for the better part of an hour, but the rest of this squabble was just totally ridiculous.
The worst part came when Shannon and Tamra started comparing Ring Toe to their former controlling husbands. This is when I first realized that Simon Barney and David Beador not only look alike, but are almost identical: the flat affect, the deadness behind the eyes, the controlling behavior, the messy divorce, the smallest dick energy that I’ve ever seen on television. Yeah, it all fits. Ring Toe doesn’t quite seem to fit into the same mold. I think he’s just, as Emily will fully admit, “a dick.” But it doesn’t seem very nice that based on this one incident these women are painting a man they’ve never met before with the same brush as their monstrous ex-husbands.
This brings us to the final part of this episode, which I have some mixed feelings about. There is nothing I love more than watching Shannon Beador in emotional turmoil. No one does justice to a blubbery cry like Shannon Beador. However, you know how people who have multiple DUIs have to blow in a Breathalyzer before starting their car? I think Shannon Beador should have to do that but like for her emotions. Is she stable enough to behind the wheel? Hardly ever. We see her running a red light just because she’s nervous. Then we see her trying to merge onto the highway with tears in her eyes while trying to explain David’s emotional sabotage to Tamra. There needs to be a PSA about Shannon’s driving.
In all seriousness though, I don’t really love what a jerk David is being about the divorce. He’s clearly contemptuous of the proceedings that he initiated because he can’t entirely control them. He’s gone so far as to slow them down by not getting a lawyer and insisting on representing himself. Then he sways the proceedings by shouting at both his ex-wife and her lawyer in the hallway. This is horrible and I don’t know that we should really be watching it nor should Shannon really be putting this out in the world for her daughters to see or hear about from kids at school who are probably watching. This is probably more damaging than it is entertaining. (As if that should even be the ultimate barometer of what we watch on reality television.)
But if I were Shannon, I would certainly not do the right thing by David. If the judge awarded me $30,000 a month in spousal support and he came out in the hall and shouted at me, I would not take that amount down to $22,500 like Shannon did. Oh no, I would not. I would take that $30,000 a month and I would spend $7,500 of it on potato chips, the kind David would passive aggressively eat in front of his wife who was trying to lose weight, and I would pile all of those bags of chips on the street in front of his house and I would light that whole pile on fire and stand there in the middle of the road cackling as the bags popped, one by one, in little fireworks of snack shards, with the flames making dancing shadows on my face that would spell out “I hate you,” in some strange, alien language.