The Real Housewives of Orange County
This season of Real QVC Spokeswomen of Blowhard Canyon has really confounded me. How can it be so consistently boring and bad when it has some of the most consistent utility players ever in the Real Housewives Universe? There is Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. who not only screamed about a “family van” but also stood by a boyfriend who faked cancer for multiple seasons, even after she had to begrudgingly admit that she might have known about the fake cancer before she let on.
Then there is Tamra Barney Judge, who has consistently delivered us quality television, either screaming about “Jesus Juggs,” getting Gretchen Rossi “naked wasted,” and breaking up and making up with Vicki enough times that even the ghosts of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are a little bit exhausted. Shannon Beador is insane, completely lacking any self-confidence or self-actualization, and is a constant source of both amusement and conflict.
Finally there is Kelly Dodd, who is currently my favorite of the cast even though I know that she is as prickly as a porcupine in a biohazard bin full of hypodermic needles. Kelly is really a great time. She’s like a popular high-school party girl who mistakenly ended up rich and is now just living her life. Like she said in this episode, she’s really the same person that she was when she was 25, even though now she’s a lot fancier.
I loved when she took her daughter Jolie back to volunteer at the homeless shelter so that it would ground her daughter but the lesson she learned is that she has had so many maids and cleaning professionals around her life that she never taught her daughter how to use a mop. Of course Kelly knows how to mop, because she was slacking off at a pizza joint in Seal Beach when she was 16. Of course her daughter doesn’t and Kelly doesn’t really fret about it, she just teaches her daughter how to mop. Why did I find this so moving?
What I’m trying to say is that Kelly is a really good time, even though when she turns it’s with the caustic force of a random sidewalk acid attack. That makes for good TV no matter what mood she’s in. Usually when a reality show is bad or boring it all comes down to casting, but Kelly is a key component of what should be an excellent cast. So how is it that with Kelly, Tamra, Vicki, and Shannon — all women who have performed at the height of Housewifery — do we end up with a show that moves with the pace of frozen molasses in a black hole?
For most of the season I was confounded by what was wrong with this show, but I finally realized what it was this episode: I just don’t care. I don’t care about any of it. While I enjoy Gina and think she’s a good addition to the cast, I don’t care about the dissolution of a marriage that I never got to see (or judge). I don’t mind Emily either (even though for someone obsessed with her mother-in-law and whose sister carried all of her children as a surrogate she should be a lot more fucked-up than she is) but I surely don’t care about what she does with her extra embryos or that her husband Ring Toe won’t let her have another child.
I do care about Shannon’s divorce to David and I want to bask in what an awful, sociopathic soul leech he is, but we haven’t seen any of that in weeks and weeks. What are we left with? Shannon is going on QVC to sell some shit like so many Housewives have before her. Show us Shannon on more dates. Show us Shannon and Kelly trying to do Pilates together. Show us the two of them taking a cooking class or doing anything together. It would be way more fun than Shannon giving Gina the cold shoulder.
I do not care about Shannon and Gina’s relationship because Shannon is always mean to the new girl. She’ll eventually warm to her and get over it and it will be fine. Trying to find tension in that is like trying to get blood from a stone. And know what? Stones don’t get reality television shows for a reason.
I certainly do not care about Vicki wanting to marry Steve Lodge, even when she brings it up at a family barbecue and everyone around the fire pit on the roof, three unmarried couples, is like, “Shove it in your stretched-out pie hole VDG Jr.” I did like that. What I do care about is how hot Michael has become and how good his arms look in a T-shirt. I also care about Behrod, Steve’s daughter Amanda’s boyfriend, because he is very sexy and has a beard. I would really care about the two of them making out when everyone else is downstairs getting more potato salad and something about the chilly night and the pre-ripe moon in the evening sky and the salt blowing in from the ocean drew their lips together like two magnets that never wanted to be pulled apart.
There is one other thing I care about. Oh, make that two things. I also care about Steve, Shannon’s hot trainer, and JaRon, Emily’s hot trainer. I don’t want them to make out, but I would like them to star in a shirtless photo shoot as Instagram influencers and I would follow both of them. The only good thing in this entire episode was the editors juxtaposing the workout techniques of Kelly at Pilates, Gina and Emily working out at home, and Shannon just sort of sitting around with her trainer at home stretching. That’s the sort of casual cruelty that is just an aside on RHONY but is the entire conversation on RHOC.
Oh wait, there is one other-man related thing I also care about and that is Eddie. I’m worried about his heart and I’m worried about how upset he is that his health is in jeopardy and how he seems to be pushing his rage down like a barista does to coffee grounds before he makes an espresso. I worry that rage is going to blow and that it could, you know, cause a heart attack or stroke or something. I’m also worried that it’s going to blow at Tamra who seems to be making Eddie’s suffering her own, not in a way that all spouses should, but in a way where Eddie’s health problems are her story and she needs to contain them in a very reality-TV kind of way.
I guess I’m supposed to recap this episode too, but I have never seen an episode of Real Housewives that was more inert than this. It was like a Roomba with a dead battery trapped under a couch, out of view, and totally forgotten about until it started beeping three days later. I’m hoping that their trip to Jamaica, which starts next episode, will be a bit better but, you know what, I’m having a hard time getting myself to care.