On this season of RHOD, the structural integrity of the core group is fracturing in interesting and unexpected ways. It’s one thing for people who never really liked each other to begin with (Kameron and Brandi, Brandi and LeeAnne, LeeAnne and her necrotic boobs) to scream and yell and scrape, but quite another to watch the unraveling of a true friendship. Remind me, what’s the phrase for something that’s a super bummer in real life, but good reality TV? (Ah, yes, it’s “good reality TV.”)
Dee, who you’ll be shocked to hear has yet to sign any kind of official agreement bequeathing the company to her daughter, takes a break from berating said daughter about her incompetent management of said company to insist that LeeAnne be invited to an upcoming group cooking lesson. Always keen on finding new avenues by which to (lovingly) psychologically torture her only child, Dee remains staunchly pro-LeeAnne. So what if she said D’Andra had $200 in her bank account? “People think I have 50 cents. I really don’t give a dog’s rip,” Dee says. Start cross stitching “I really don’t give a dog’s rip” onto every surface you can get your hands on and soon you’ll have a bustling Etsy business.
To his credit, Rich takes the jibes about living “separate lives” he hears secondhand from LeeAnne lightly: “What the hell does that mean? Is this where I go to Colombia and visit with my other wife and four kids?” (Excuse me while I replay this season’s RHONY Cartagena arc in slow motion, combing for any trace of an eye patch in the background.) Meanwhile, LeeAnne has deduced that her supposed best friend D’Andra must be feeding information about her to Brandi — which, well, is true — which is hardly supposed best-friend behavior.
Stephanie expresses her nerves over her upcoming period of single-mom-hood to her visiting sister Tiffany, who we learn once peed in Stephanie’s shampoo bottle as revenge when her older sister dared to wear one of her shirts to school. I’m going to need more Tiffany — who brings to the RHOD table an Oklahoma twang, a tank top that reads “TIME TO WINE DOWN” and, even more incredibly, an actual job — immediately. Tiffany encourages her more timid sibling to ask, “What would Tiffany do?” Stephanie isn’t off to the best start: I am not a Tiffany expert, but I am pretty sure Tiffany would not say “I have handbags that cost more than her mortgage a month” about her sister in a confessional.
Cary and Mark host a party for the grand opening of their new plastic surgery and laser center, which has technically been open for months, but whatever, slap this platelet-rich plasma blood slime onto your face and this cocktail into your mouth. The place is named Lemmon Avenue, which I originally interpret as “Lemon Avenue,” which I originally interpret as a strange but creative reference to cleavage. Anyway, they should outsource all their marketing to LeeAnne, who spontaneously offers what is simultaneously the most compelling and disturbing argument for plastic surgery I’ve ever heard: “If after I’m dead, a 21-year-old boy opens my coffin and would be interested in having sex with my dead body, that’s what I want to do.” Outside of her references to necrophilia, LeeAnne is on her best behavior, hugging Mark during the five seconds he is brave enough to spend in her immediate vicinity and not mentioning a single thing about a single dick getting a single suck at the Round-Up. She’s saving her daily naughty quotient for someone else.
Rather than wearing human clothes, D’Andra has elected to encase herself in a shiny gold gift bag. Festive! She and LeeAnne step aside for a private chat. LeeAnne begins on the defensive, expressing her discomfort with the D’Andra-Brandi gossip pipeline and her hope that her own business be allowed to stay her own business. The parry, then the riposte.
“I feel like every time you are with her, all you do is end up drinking,” LeeAnne says, of D’Andra tipsily palling around with Brandi.
“Are you saying I have a drinking problem?” D’Andra asks, obviously offended.
“I worry that whenever you and Brandi are together, that it’s always about alcohol,” LeeAnne responds.
This is a far colder tactic on LeeAnne’s part than it might initially appear. Not only has D’Andra struggled with alcohol in her past, but — as is well known to LeeAnne — her alcoholic father committed suicide while drunk. (Those interested in further study should consider enrolling in next semester’s Real Housewives Institute 200-level laboratory course on Accusing Your Friends of Having Drinking Problems on National Television. I’ll be TA-ing!) D’Andra was wrong to publicly air her friend’s dirty relationship laundry, but I do believe she meant well — she struck me as genuinely worried about Rich’s fidelity and LeeAnne’s happiness. Here, I’m pretty sure LeeAnne’s just being malicious.
D’Andra staggers out of the room in a furious fugue state. She’s shaken up. As she cries, Stephanie and Brandi do their best to comfort her, and a random woman who I don’t think anyone has bothered to introduce us to pats her tenderly on the back.
D’Andra and LeeAnne’s close friendship isn’t the only one that’s starting to show cracks. On the car ride home, Brandi — my former RHOD MVP, who seems to be going out of her way to convince me to root against her this season — tells Stephanie how disappointed she is that New, Good LeeAnne bears such a striking resemblance to Old, Bad LeeAnne. “I hate to even say this,” Brandi says, failing to realize that her instincts are correct, and that she should not be saying this, but what if LeeAnne’s been trying to get back at Brandi by merely “pretend[ing] to be friends” with Stephanie?
WWTD? Brandi better keep a close eye on her shampoo.