The Real Housewives of Orange County
This week on our favorite program, Heather Dubrows Doing Things, the Heather Dubrows did things. They got on a private jet to fly to Syracuse University and take their kids on a private tour of their alma mater in the rain. They went out to the bar they couldn’t get into during college and visited their old sorority house like a sequel to The House Bunny but without any of the comedy. They got so wasted in the Big Apple that they spilled pizza on their designer purse and dropped crumpled $20 bills on the sidewalk and didn’t even look for them, which is the ultimate metaphor for Heather Dubrows everywhere. They went to New York to shit-talk their mother while at the same time extolling their own virtues as a mother to a teen who was once at a party with Kelly Dodd. I’m sorry, but no matter what the circumstance, if your teen was at a party with Kelly Dodd, then you did something wrong.
There have been Housewives that come back before (like Shereé Whitfield) and there will be Housewives that come back again (like Shereé Whitfield) but the return of Heather Dubrow continues to completely baffle me. Usually when someone comes back, they just join rejoin the ensemble, but Heather has gone from fired to being the centerpiece of this whole operation in less than a season. It’s not just in the dynamic, but in the fixation on Heather’s life, this whole delving into her backstory, her college experience, her mother, all of that. Lydia McLaughlin didn’t get that. She didn’t even get a welcome back gift from Tamra. I would ask what Heather has on the producers that they are giving her this weekly infomercial, but I have a feeling it is the television program Botched that continues to make them heaps of money.
I found most of her visit to Syracuse to be pretty boring, but I was a little captivated by her live podcast recording at the university. In front of an assembled group of underclassmen (and probably their mothers), Heather talks about how she came to the college a big fish in a small pond and found herself somewhat lost at college. She folded in on herself and gained 30 pounds. Okay, I’m with you. Very relatable. Then she tells us what cured her: winning the Greater Miss Syracuse pageant. Everyone in the audience is like, “Ew. That was canceled. Not like J.K. Rowling is canceled. It’s canceled like no one wanted to do it anymore so they had to cancel it.” I’m glad that it really helped Heather but, yeah, no one thinks that pageants are the path to enlightenment anymore.
The best part of the whole trip to New York was, of course, meeting Heather’s mother (sorry, “smother”), Carole. It’s true that we all become our parents, but no one has become their mother like Heather Dubrow has become her mother. Carole sits down at Tao (eye roll) and tells the waitress, “I don’t mean to be rude, but this is not how you set a table. This is how you set a table.” Well, Carole, maybe that’s how they set a table at Tao. Maybe you’re actually the one that is wrong? But that she would think she knows best and not be able to help herself is peak Heather Dubrow.
And can we talk about their competing drink orders? Carole’s is a “a martini, very dry, I would like a twist but very, very dry, and I would like the ice from the shaker on the side please. Very dry. Very very dry. Did I say dry? I mean dry like Kristen Stewart thinking about sex with a man.” Heather’s is “Silver Patron and soda on the rocks in a wine glass, and can you squeeze a bunch of limes in there? Do you have fresh juice? No? Can I get some grapefruit juice on the side, please?” I mean, same person. Heather is talking about how her mother was too strict, how she had unrealistic curfews and all of this stuff. Heather says her mother always had a plan, always had a schedule, and she does too. The difference is, if people don’t want to go, then she doesn’t make them. Um, really? Because I think you are most likely a mimeograph of your mother.
Back in Orange County, Shannon Stormy Beador has Emily One-Piece Simpson, Dr. Jen Strong Arms, and Noella the Destroyer over for a ladies’ tag-team wrestling match. No, she has them over for a cooking class. When they arrive, Shannon’s friend Lisa and her daughter Brittany are there to help her prepare but as soon as the other ladies arrive, they are dismissed to go eat dinner somewhere else. This is peak Housewivery, to dismiss your real friends so they don’t embarrass you while you’re on camera with your “circle of friends.” Shannon tries to teach them all how to cook, complete with chef coats and hair nets, and literally no one is even interested.
They sit down, start consuming lots of tequila, and call Heather, who sends them straight to voicemail because they didn’t order sufficiently complicated cocktails when they were at dinner at Tao. They once again discuss whether Shannon is jealous of Gina, a conversation that Emily has created out of whole cloth and manages to continue by telling Heather and Gina about it the next day. The thing about this conversation is that, well, no one cares. Also Gina is right, Shannon can’t be happy for anyone else’s success. As Heather points out, Shannon also needs to prove that she is having the most fun, she is living the best life, she has the best skin-care line. I don’t know that it’s jealousy as much as it is insecurity.
While all the women are at Shannon’s, Dr. Jen says she needs to leave because she needs to deal with Ryne, who is thinking of moving out for a month while they work on their relationship. He’s working so hard on this relationship that he left Jen to do couple’s counseling alone. She tells Tina — of the make-Shannon-lie-underneath-her-tombstone couple’s therapy — that she gives Ryne nothing but kindness and doesn’t get it back. Then it turns out that he thinks she’s criticizing him even though she says she is not. Um, honey. Honey. Child child honey child. I have seen this here reality television program of yours and you are more critical than a Siskel & Ebert (RIP) marathon. Tina tells Jen, “Whatever part you play, fix that,” which is basically her saying what I just said but in a nice constructive way which is why she is a therapist and I’m some asshole who makes fun of reality stars on the internet. (She’s as jealous of me as Shannon is of Emily.)
When Jen brings up her problems with Ryne, Noella pass-agg whispers to Emily, “’Cause we all don’t have stuff we’re dealing with?” Yeah, Noella, we’re all dealing with stuff, but she is in the middle of it and trying to fix it. Your marriage is already deader than Jimmy Hoffa’s gut biome. You can stay and party and split an edible with Shannon. There is no marriage left to save. How she continues to front her own trauma over everyone else’s is exhausting to me. At least Jen called her out on whispering to her face and made Noella say it out loud.
After Jen leaves, all of the ladies strip down and hop in the pool, which, miraculously, Shannon has not been in until that night. I love how Noella and Emily strip down to their skivvies and Shannon gets in wearing her chef coat, toque, and Spanx. If she can’t be sexy, at least she can make a bit out of it. They’re having so much fun, even Archie Beador hops in. “Momma. Can I haz pools 2?” he says, doggy-paddling across, feeling the cool water on everything but his head, warmed by the night breeze. But poor Archie can only think of one thing, the same thing the women are thinking, the same thing the show is thinking, the same thing everyone is thinking but the fans: “Wherez Heather Doobro?”