The Real Housewives of Orange County
As soon as the women announced completely organically (I don’t know if you caught the sarcasm there but it is thicker than the coat of dried sweat on the back of Shannon’s neck) that they would be going to Jamaica for some reason I thought to myself, “Great, now we can spend hours listening to Shannon say, ‘Jamaica, mon’ in an accent that is about as authentic as one of those dirty Iron Men that assault you in Times Square.” Of course I was right about this because it started before they even got to the resort and continued for the entire episode.
When they are all in the van on the way to the resort, Kelly (I think?) pulls out a bunch of knit hats with dreadlocks built into them and they ask the driver if he’s going to be mad if they wear the hats. He says no, but of course he doesn’t love this. Of course he doesn’t want a klatch of screaming white women appropriating his culture wearing the wig equivalent of blackface. No one wants to see these women do this. The difference is this guy has to be nice to them because his entire livelihood is predicated on making awful tourists comfortable.
Let us think, for just a second, about the poor people of Jamaica who have this tsunami of inappropriate behavior unleashed on them. Look at all of the service people the women were awful to. Can you believe they forced a butler to watch as Vicki and Tamra tried to fart and pee over the biggest bed so that they could have the nicest room? Seriously, ladies, they’re all basically the same. You are going to be trapped in a luxury coffin with no air conditioning in 90-degree heat. No matter which room you’re in you’re going to sweat your mic packs off. It doesn’t really matter at all.
After the hotel the parade of humiliation continued at the river-rafting excursion, where Kelly and Tamra turn their guide into a drinking game and Vicki unloads her entire life history to one of the bartenders. The dignity these working-class people will trade so that tourism can boom in this country makes me both sad for them and deeply respect them at the same time. If I were a Jamaican and I had to deal with any of these women for even one second I would call the Trump Wall Construction Company and have them build a moat around the entire island and then I would call up the president and insist that the country withdraw from NATO, the UN, and every globe that includes a drawing of the United States.
Can you believe everything that Vicki told Trishauna, the bartender, when she got into the whole Brooks mess? The editors did Vicki a solid by skipping over most of that story so we couldn’t pick apart what she said, but how did she even sum up Brooks faking cancer on national television to a semi-interested third party with Shannon looking on and probably making comments throughout the entire narration. Vicki should have just said, “Let me get my publicist to send you the DVDs for seasons seven through ten and just watch those and you’ll get the whole thing.”
Most of the episode was really about Shannon: what Shannon is doing, where she is rooming, who she is rafting with, who she is texting at dinner, whether or not she is negative, why she forgets her bathing suit while going to a spa, and whether she will actually get into a pool naked. Her most egregious faux pas was when Kelly suggested that Shannon room with new girls Emily and Gina to get them know them a bit better. Shannon quickly replied with an enthusiastic no.
That should be Shannon’s drag name: Enthusiastic No. That is what she says to life every day when she wakes up. She could roll with the punches and say yes to things. “Oh, they sold the house I’m renting. Maybe I’ll find a better one. Yes!” Instead it’s, “My daughters are going to hate me and there will never be a house they’re comfortable in again. No.” It could be, “Swimming in a dirty river might be a little bit crazy but it will take me out of my comfort zone and show my fun side. Yes!” Instead it’s, “I’m going to get Zika virus and I’m hot and I don’t want to be here and everyone drives me crazy. Let’s go sit in the van. No.”
Even Gina, who is scared of murky water because she grew up on the pharmaceutical waste shores of Long Island, went for a swing of Tarzan’s rope. She didn’t get in the water, but she tried to push her limits and have a good time. The rest of the women are encouraged by that. Shannon cannot do that. Shannon is no Gina. She is just a Koosh ball made out of negative energy, regret, and obstinacy.
Things are starting to get bad with Tamra and Shannon because Tamra is recognizing that Shannon is more concerned in wallowing in her own marinade of destruction than in trying to get out of it or, God forbid, engaging with other people and their own problems. Gina and Emily have a great time with Tamra on the beach and it’s setting up this wonderful fight that is going to bubble up between Tamra and Shannon next episode. At least I hope it’s a wonderful fight because this season needs something, anything, to drag it out of the doldrums.
Speaking of which, I have never seen Real Housewives look worse than some of them did in this episode. Okay, fine, it was really only Vicki and Shannon. Shannon clearly is not happy with her body or how it looks wearing a bathing suit or bikini and chose to cover up. I get it. But couldn’t she do something with her hair or wear a more flattering hat and a little bit of cover-up so she doesn’t look sunburnt the whole time? Yes, she’s on vacation, but this is also a television show. Shannon knows we can all see her, right?
Vicki has something else going on. She is not wearing clothing that is flattering at all, and her hair seems to be a bit of straw pasted to the top of a pole like she’s a funny-looking witch at a pumpkin patch. Then there is the question of why her face was so red and puffy the whole episode. It seems clear that she is allergic to something in Jamaica. Maybe it’s sunblock, maybe it’s her makeup, maybe it’s something she ate or drank. I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. I’m just a dude watching this at home and I know that Vicki looked like a half-grilled shrimp that someone dropped on the ground while trying to flip it over. If this season is going to be totally devoid of action at least it could give us something pretty to look at. This week we didn’t get either.