The Real Housewives of Orange County
There’s a small moment in this episode where Gina is FaceTiming her mother from her closet and, once again, is sitting on the floor. Why is Gina always on the floor? She’s sat on more carpet than the Aladdin and Jasmine actors at EuroDisney. Every time you turn around, she’s either in an empty room popping a squat or she’s in a room full of furniture and, like one of the Jersey Shore girls doing her makeup before heading to Karma, she is perched on the floor. Is there something about the tristate area that makes its people not believe in chairs? Do Gina’s legs not bend a certain way, so that modern conveyances for reclining bodies do not work for her? Someone, please, teach Gina how to sit the eff down.
This episode had a lot of small moments like that. For example, did we know that Kelly Dodd is hawking a brand of vitamin seltzer called Positively H2O? She apparently invested $250,000 of her divorce settlement into the company because, as she says, she’s burning through her money like the scion of a Chinese businessman at Barneys. She’s selling it at some business fair in the OC, and Tamra and Eddie show up because they’re launching their own line of protein. Maybe they should merge and their company can be called Positively Protein, which is also the name of Sam Smith’s Grindr account.
The most annoying small thing, however, continues to be Braunwyn, who goes with Emily and Kelly to see Emily’s burlesque debut in Las Vegas. The editors played a very mean trick on Emily, who says that she is on the stage in a thong and body stocking trying to show the world that you don’t have to be the “typical thin, blonde Orange County girl” to be pretty; cut to Braunwyn strutting around their hotel suite in a bikini and a stomach flatter than Peggy Sulahian’s affect. Seriously, how does she look that good in a swimsuit when she has seven kids, one born just last year? It’s good to know that Braunwyn has no soul, that she sold it to the Devil and he is now playing tiddlywinks with it in hell.
Emily is in a show called Sexxy, with two X’s, that is at the Westgate hotel in Las Vegas. Westgate is a chain of time-shares owned by billionaire David Seigel and his wife, Jackie, who is the subject of the fascinating documentary The Queen of Versailles. (Seriously, if you like Housewives, you will love this.) Just like in the movie, we see that Westgate, with its 15,400-square-foot room, a private butler named Valentino, and a statue of a carousel pony in the living room, reflects how poor people imagine rich people’s lives. It’s the marble-bathroom, painted-tile, faux-gold-plates-serving-fast-food-hamberders Trump aesthetic that shows neither taste nor money but is supposed to telegraph both.
Now, I don’t want to trash Sexxy with only two X’s (the third one took off and is now selling itself at the Bunny Ranch), but the show, much like the Westgate in general, looks pretty budg. Okay, I want to trash Sexxy, but I don’t want to trash Emily, who looks fantastic and has way more nerve than most of us to get up there and show herself off, not only in front of a roomful of people but also a nation full of Housewives fans with Twitter accounts. She tries very hard. I will give her that. But, well, her performance isn’t great, and considering that the show was choreographed by a sentient mascara smudge, that shouldn’t be a surprise.
The craziest thing is that Emily wanted this to be an anniversary surprise for her husband, Shane, a half-crushed sandcastle tower, but he didn’t want to go. Instead, his parents came to Vegas to watch her. Of all the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity I have heard in my life, inviting your in-laws to your burlesque debut has to take the Moons Over Mi-Hammy. As Tamra jokes, “Happy anniversary. I gave your dad a boner.” I mean, who thought this was a good idea?
Shane, of course, shows up the next day with flowers to congratulate Emily, but, as with most things, Shane is a day late and short. (No, I didn’t leave out the dollar. That was a short joke.) The point wasn’t just for him to be there but for him to see the show, and he misses it. Still, Emily gives him mad props. “He had to arrange child care, which he never does,” she says. “He had to get a ticket, he had to fly, he had to make plans.” Yes, congrats for Shane, who had to do all the things that a normal supportive spouse has to do in order to surprise her for their anniversary. Emily’s bar is so very low when it comes to Shane. It’s like World Tournament of Limbo low.
Because Shane can’t leave well enough alone, he then says that marriage to Emily is extreme. Not just extreme, extreme with three X’s. Exxxtreme. Hey, that’s one more than Sexxy.
OH! But we started talking about Vegas because we were talking about how annoying Braunwyn is, and it is because she brought that tiny little blackboard with her like she’s going to do a never-ending first-day-of-school Pinterest photo shoot. Instead, she just writes phrases on it and leaves it places. But they aren’t even good phrases or interesting jokes. They’re the sort of stock phrases that one can buy already painted on reclaimed wood at HomeGoods. She writes, “What Happens in Vegas,” or “Get the Party Started,” or “Wine O’Clock,” or “Zen Time.” I swear we were moments away from a “Live. Laugh. Love.” Or a “Dance Like No One Is Watching.”
That “Zen Time” message also shows up on the crew’s trip to Arizona, because Braunwyn thought it was such a hit in Vegas that she brought it again. Okay, I’m all for a novelty-gag prop, but those things have a shorter shelf life than most Tinder relationships. Clearly Braunwyn is looking to launch a line of tiny chalkboards to help sell her husband’s disgusting oversize man necklaces.
Shannon takes everyone — including Braunwyn’s ancient dry-erase board — to Miraval resort in Arizona. (You can book your own Real Housewives package at the resort now. Terms and conditions may apply. Kelly Dodd mallet whack sold separately.) It’s supposed to be so that they can all heal or something, but mostly Shannon just wants to marinate in the New Age slop she so adores. Kelly Dodd doesn’t seem to share this love. When they all arrive and are confronted with a giant gong, Kelly decides to make all of the dong jokes she can possibly muster. And, like the Hadid sisters at an all-you-can-eat buffet, she can pack in a lot more than you might expect.
First up, everyone goes for a sound bath with Dr. Tim. I would be relentlessly mean to this ritual except a friend once dragged me to a sound bath at some alternative-yoga place in the deepest reaches of Brooklyn and it was one of the most relaxing evenings of my life. However, no one asked me to stand in a bowl with another bowl over my head. I draw the line at room-service-salad cosplay. While Shannon is standing in a bowl with another bowl on her head, Kelly decides to play a little joke and whack her with a mallet, most likely because Shannon getting a ringing in her ears would be hilarious.
No one thinks it is funny. Dr. Tim even says, “That really was not cool,” which is the harshest thing that a New Age person could possibly say. Shannon says that her head is really hurting, and the women retire to their candlelight villas to sit alone during a power outage. Shannon continues to have a meltdown about her health while Kelly sits in her villa and correctly predicts that Shannon is going to overreact, yell at her, and then insist that she has a concussion.
Shannon’s spiral continues to get worse once her vision gets a little blurry, which is really how the stories of so many epic nights begin. However, this night will prove to be epic in the wrong way. With a bit of prodding from Tamra and Vicki, Shannon decides that she needs to go to urgent care to have her dome checked out. Maybe if Tamra wasn’t like, “My husband hit his head and then he leaked spinal fluid,” they could have talked Shannon down. Yes, Kelly probably shouldn’t have whacked her, but I don’t think it was hard enough to do any significant damage. But when dealing with a drama queen like Shannon, why would anyone say anything to her other than, “You’re going to be fine, don’t worry,” and then thrust a Xanax in her direction?
The episode ends with the people at urgent care asking if Shannon wants to press charges because what Kelly did was technically an assault. Of course we don’t get to hear the answer (we all know she won’t), but as Shannon festers in the ER, Kelly is back in her room in the dark. She takes a candle and walks through the desert in the pitch-black night with only the stars about her lighting the way. Things grab at her baggy track pants — succulents, cacti, maybe even the errant gecko or two — but that doesn’t stop Kelly. She is out there searching, fumbling in the dark, wondering how her fun friendship with Shannon went so horribly wrong. Kelly doesn’t know if she should go back in or not. She doesn’t know when to stop walking, when she will find what she’s looking for. But then, finally, her phone gets three bars and the calm glow of Instagram acts as a compass to lead her back home.