The Real Housewives of Orange County
There is no more apt metaphor for this season so far than Kelly Dodd roaming around Tamra’s new enormous house saying, “I don’t want to talk to you,” while Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. stalks her, shouting, “You don’t talk about women that way.” To make it even worse, Vicki was wearing the fur vest that is a hallmark of a Housewives era gone by. Vicki refuses to acknowledge the new world order where she is not a major part of the show and, honestly, it’s a little sad. But still, here we are, mostly talking about Vicki, and that is a ringing endorsement against the show.
The above scene goes down at Tamra’s housewarming party, a party where Eddie does not allow her to invite their new neighbors because he knows there ain’t no party like a Housewives party because a Housewives party don’t stop being an embarrassment to everyone. The party is the only event of the episode, honestly, because everything that precedes it is just the women going about the trials and tribulations of their privileged lives alone. Gina has to figure out how to go on a date with a man who doesn’t use emoji. Shannon watches her daughter go to a school formal in a dress that’s color and length don’t carry even a whiff of anything formal. Shannon does, however, manage to embarrass both her daughter and her adorable date, Christian, who couldn’t be more handsome or game if he was a contestant on Love Island: Teens.
Emily throws a dinner party for her mother and father-in-law and their children even though her husband, Shane, a wilted succulent of a man, is at the library studying for the bar exam. Emily tries to FaceTime him from the party and he doesn’t answer. However, he calls right back to say, “Why is everyone hounding me? This is like harassment.” It is a damning speech, but I would like to think that we didn’t see 20 calls placed to him by other members of the family preceding this outburst. This feels like one of those relationship situations where both parties behave badly and everyone is upset and sad and thinking about calling an end to the whole thing, but then you realize that you might have been a jerk too so you just carry on through all the half-lit days until you remember why you started this insane endeavor in the first place.
Kelly Dodd and her daughter, Jolie, take a tennis lesson with a hunky hippie named Hadley — and I would like to employ him to help me improve my serves. They have a disconcerting talk after the lesson where Kelly tells Jolie that she and Dr. Brian Reagan, who never met a business opportunity he didn’t suck the life out of, want to launch a line of skin-care products for teens and they want Jolie to be the face of it. Since the 12-year-old says she doesn’t understand what that means, Kelly tells her it’s mainly about posting on Instagram. Jolie then tells her that her Instagram is private because people send her mean messages on the platform and reads one that says, “Your mom is a loser-ass bitch and when she’s not drunk she’s doing cocaine.”
Okay, guys. If anyone reading this thinks it’s acceptable to message a child who is on one of our programs and say awful things to her, please stop reading this, delete all of your social-media accounts, and fuck right the hell off. Jolie’s mom signed up for this show and knew what she was getting into. She made an informed choice and if you feel so poorly about yourself that you want to bludgeon her on social media, go right ahead. Jolie did not make that choice. Jolie doesn’t even seem to want to be here. She tells her mom that she’s very private, probably because she has seen what happens when you live a very public life. Kelly tells her that a lot of bullying happens online and Jolie responds, “But I shouldn’t have to deal with it at 12, to be honest.” She is right, and if any of you have contributed to that, there is a special place in Mistress Moylan’s S&M Den of Terrors just waiting for you.
This all comes full circle because Kelly is mad at Vicki for saying at the reunion that Kelly does cocaine, something that Kelly vehemently denies. Apparently, during the offseason, Kelly posted some mean comments about Vicki’s facelift on her social media, which prompted Vicki to text Kelly a list of demands about how she should comport herself on social media. Kelly responded with a talking-pig bitmoji (which is especially difficult for Vicki after Slade Smiley called her “Miss Piggy” all those years ago) telling her not to call or text Kelly anymore. That talking pig delivered some very harsh language too, which created some cognitive dissonance, like the Queen of England delivering a Nicki Minaj rap.
Tamra invites Vicki to the housewarming and it is clear that no one wants her there. We even get a split screen of her arriving with all of the women both freaking out about it and trying to avoid her as she wanders the large empty foyer alone like Charles Foster Kane in a version of Xanadu that was made by Restoration Hardware. As Vicki enters the party, the same trend continues — she tries to get in on the action with the other women and they all avoid her. Vicki, never one to get hints and always one to follow the epicenter of the action, continues to flit around the party like a malfunctioning drone.
Vicki’s behavior is the type that we’ve seen her perform (successfully) for years on this show. When Tamra confronts her about saying that Kelly did cocaine, Vicki says, “Does,” bringing it to the present tense. “I know people who do it with her.” This is exactly like when she repeated the rumors about Eddie being gay. Vicki has never learned her lesson. Vicki could be buried under a pile of textbooks and she would never learn anything. Maybe her demotion is the thing that will teach her? (Probably not.)
After again accusing Kelly of doing cocaine, Vicki then screams, “She called me fat!” as if calling someone a name and saying that they do illegal drugs are equally awful. As Tamra and Vicki continue to fight about how Vicki should handle Kelly, Vicki shouts, “Don’t side with her right now,” to which Tamra replies, “I’m kind of siding with her.” That is something Vicki needs to hear, that everyone really is against her. She needs to hear that her bad behavior over the course of the better part of a decade has alienated so many people that she once considered friends that she has been essentially booted off a reality show because of it. Vicki needs to learn that her actions have consequences, and that no matter how she might deny them and claim innocent victimhood, eventually people will get sick of playing her game and she will be left wandering around a catered housewarming party alone, with nothing but her tequila drinks to keep her company.