The Real Housewives of Orange County
The episode starts with a simple household scene. Shannon is preparing dinner and her new, handsome boyfriend John tells her that her fridge is a little stinky. “What?” Shannon asks? She can’t smell it. He sniffs it again and is like, “Yeah, something smells.” Shannon still can’t find it. “You have to tell me what it is. You know I can’t smell anything after my sinus surgery.” Finally, to make her feel better, John tells Shannon that her fridge doesn’t smell anymore. John better be careful what he says, Brandi Glanville said that Joanna Krupa’s “fridge smelled” and she ended up with a lawsuit.
But what if it isn’t the sinus surgery? What if Shannon has lost her sense of smell? You know what that is a symptom of? Yes, the disease formerly known as cornova virus. Do you think she had it? Do you think she got it way back then? We all know that lockdown is coming, have the invisible viral Cylons already come for Shannon and her stinky fridge? I never thought I would say this, but after this episode I just wanted them to hurry up and get to our national health crisis already, because this was all just a little too much grasping.
I spent most of the episode going from loving Shannon to hating her. She tells John at dinner that she really wants to finish the gym in their home, which is a giant “fuck you” to her fitness-obsessed ex, David, and I am here for it. Then she tells John that she hates his Peloton because she feels it’s claustrophobic and “the seat hurts your vagina.” John tells her that is her pelvic bone and that pain will go away. Seriously, is this guy going to mansplain sore vaginas to a woman who actually possesses one?
Then she gets all mad when Kelly Dodd meets her father and says, “Big dick daddy from Cincinnati.” Shannon admits that he’s a party boy and ladies’ man with a much younger second wife. He probably loved it. Yeah, it was a little weird, but this is Kelly “Please punish the beaver, Ward Cleaver” Dodd. She’s irrepressible. Get over it, Shannon.
I also loved Shannon when she took Braunwyn to go see Dr. Moon, her acupuncturist and all-around medical guru. I love Dr. Moon because he is really mean to Shannon, pointing out how much acupuncture she needs for emotional issues and what a baby she is for crying about the tiniest needle in her back.
Then I hate Shannon when she finally gets on Dr. Moon’s table. She’s complaining about how sore her tailbone is — has she been Pelo-ing the Ton again? — but then when he tries to fix it she screams like someone just took the last bag of miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the day before Halloween.
I love that Shannon employed her and John’s children to be the servers at her housewarming party, even John’s twunk son Joe, who goes by the name Brockington on Sean Cody dot com. (Don’t Google that. The joke was not meant for you.) The kids certainly don’t want to be there, but if they’re going to have to be there, at least put them to work. They’re spoiled OC kids, at least she’s teaching them that sometimes they need to work for everything they have.
Then I hate Shannon for running around her house screaming, “This pillow is not perfect,” and “Oh, it wouldn’t be Sophie’s room without a popsicle stick on the floor.” I’m shocked that Shannon didn’t ask to speak to the manager, the irony being that she is the manager. You know that Shannon is the Chief Karen of her block. She is probably the Chief Karen of all of Newport Beach, and that is a land so dense in Karens that iPhones pre-dial 911 when a Black person walks by them on the sidewalk.
I’m so back and forth on Shannon. I love that she’s finally leaning into the “nine lemons in a bowl” thing all these years later, with a totally lemon-themed party and then I remember that it’s because it’s a brand integration for Shannon’s Bad Business Idea with Lemons or Some Shit and then I just want to burn her rental right down to the ground and then do an Urkel, “Did I do that?” while Shannon hyperventilates on the lawn.
I am not at all ambiguous about my feelings for Braunwyn. I just feel really bad for her, want to give her a big hug, and tell her it will all be fine and (other than the fact that it’s playing out in a very public venue) what she’s going through is not that different. In fact, her clutching onto sobriety is the most painfully common thing there is. She’s trying to do what’s right for her, but currently she’s flailing around like one of those wiggly men at a car dealership on the side of the highway, but instead of being powered by air she’s powered by month-old tequila burps and anxiety.
The editors really did her dirty when they showed the whole family sitting down for dinner and then Braunwyn taking the “littles” (as apparently the younger kids are called) up to bed and saying how glad she is that she can stop taking care of herself and start taking care of her kids again, how the only thing stronger than her addiction is her love for her children. Then she just dumps them all in their room and they jump around on the bed while the nanny tries to wrangle them all and Braunwyn just says, “Goodnight!” and goes into her room to complain about her problems.
When Braunwyn picks up Shannon to go to Dr. Moon’s office, she gives Shannon the heads up that she told Emily that Shannon was talking shit about Gina’s house and said it was sad and depressing. This is like a game of telephone. I don’t mean it’s like one person telling the next and things getting confused. I mean that it’s antiquated, no one has one anymore, and most people don’t care about it.
Shannon insists she didn’t call the house sad and depressing but Braunwyn says she did. We see a split screen of them arguing their positions like their Rick Santorum and Ana Navarro on a CNN panel, but we don’t see the footage of what happened? Why make everyone argue when they can just go back to the footage? I mean, I guess I could just call up the first episode of this season and look myself, but I’m so lazy.
[Comes back five minutes later after checking the tape with a handful of Pirate’s Booty and a stain on my shirt.] Okay, so I checked the tape. [Said with my mouth full.] When Shannon goes to Braunwyn’s house, Braunwyn talks about how Gina moving in with her man is a “big mistake” (which to me is more damning than saying her house sucks) and talks about how she’s living in a small place. Shannon says that the place is small. “It’s…a lot,” she says.
That is not “sad and depressing,” unless there is some scene where she said this that we haven’t been shown and we’re all being taken for a ride. (If this show is going to take me for a ride, it better be in Kelly Dodd’s golden Hummer, which is also her nickname for her boyfriend.) Why wouldn’t they show us? Is there no other drama so they want this weird feud to go on for a few episodes and for fans to take sides?
The only team that I’m on is the team that says that Elizabeth’s boyfriend Johnny, who has been dating her for months and not getting laid, should really get some before Elizabeth’s divorce is finalized. (It’s going to court! It could take years! Bethenny Frankel is still married to Jason Hoppy!)
At Shannon’s party, Gina sits down with Shannon and is like, “Why did you say my house is depressing?” and Shannon says, “I didn’t” and Gina says, “Okay, we’re cool.” But then Shannon is rip-roaring mad when Braunwyn arrives and accuses her of “putting words in my mouth.” As they chat, Shannon gets more and more heated and it’s really unfair to Braunwyn. She showed up at her first party in her 30 days of sobriety and as soon as someone mentions tequila she has to go into the bathroom and cry. Braunwyn looks like she took her makeup off with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser and Shannon is yelling at her.
I don’t understand why Braunwyn keeps insisting that Shannon said it. She’s going through enough already, she might as well be like, “You know, I guess I misheard you. Sorry.” Instead she tells Shannon, “For the first time in my life I’m sober and I can remember things accurately.” This is such a rookie sober mistake. This is like Luann making fun of Tinsley for slurring her words on the RHONY trip to Miami. Just because she’s sober a month doesn’t give her super ginko biloba memory powers. She will even admit that she is distracted and anxious, maybe she is misremembering not because of booze but because of her mindset?
The women split the room and Braunwyn goes to complain to Elizabeth and Sean about what went down and says she has to be honest right now because, “You’re only as sick as your secrets,” which is an adage right out of recovery speak. Braunwyn has the newly sober halo and she is having a hard time interacting with the world. I get it. Everyone in recovery goes through it, but insisting that she’s right is not working for her. She doesn’t need to totally eat shit, but she should at least stop the fight from perpetuating and putting herself in a bad situation.
Then, as Braunwyn is as raw as a chain of poke restaurants, she thinks it’s a good idea to go talk to Gina, who she has been openly trash talking for months. Sean even encourages this because he is wearing an immunity idol (thanks, Emily) and thinks that means he is immune from drama. He is wrong. Braunwyn tries to talk to Gina, but Shannon starts yelling over her about, “How dare you come into my house and put words in my mouth.”
Braunwyn is trying to own up to the fact that she’s been running her mouth because she thinks Gina doesn’t like her. What I would suggest is going in, apologizing, and trying to explain herself. Instead she tries to defend herself. When Gina says, “You haven’t called or texted me,” Braunwyn says, “I wanted to but I haven’t had the time.” Emily is all of us when she says, “You have two nannies and you don’t work. You could find the time.” Braunwyn then explains that she was so busy dropping her kids off at school and getting facials, which is something that twunk Joe knows something about too. (Again, do not Google.)
As things escalate, Gina says, “You’re like a sloppy chihuahua. You’re wasted all the time.” And that is when Braunwyn decides to confess, “I’m 30 days sober today, bitch.” Then she storms off, throwing her glass either into the pool or onto the patio, which is probably not a good idea because there are certainly far too many in flip flops at this party. Braunwyn, her eyes burning like she’s in a smoky room, rushes out of the party, Sean hot on her heels. She busts out of Shannon’s screen door and throws her sunglasses to the ground. Now she’s getting flushed, the blotches spreading down her neck to the top of her breasts, and she feels like it’s a noose — her sobriety, her family, her friends, this show, the truth, her version of the truth, Shannon, Emily, the minivan that will usher her home, the welcome mat that Rowan picked out that she loathes. “Get it off,” she whispers breathily, clawing at her neck. Sean catches up to her and tries to hug her, tries to get her arms by her sides. “Get it off me,” she says. “Get it off.”