At the beginning of this episode, my expectations are low. I’m talking low like the noses of those twins on Selling Sunset or the prices at Filene’s Basement. What is up with that insufferably long family dinner with the Dubrow’s at Nobu? Do they own stock in this place? It’s the second time Heather has been this season, and they also catered the party at her house where no one ate the sushi because Nicole, the grifter without a face, sued Terry Dubrow. I don’t think Nobu, a brand aligned with luxury, really wants to be on RHOC, possibly the most down-market of all the franchises, but here they are, edamame in a pod with a family of phonies who just love a free yellowtail roll.
The dinner seems to last longer than most Tinder dates or Grindr hookups, but it is really only like five minutes. Maybe Heather Dubrow is like marijuana — when you’re around it, time stops having all meaning and you’re just left lolling in a haze knowing you will either lose your mind or pass out on the couch in a bag of chips, whichever happens first. Sure, there is some drama between Max, Heather’s older LGBTQIA+ daughter, and Kat, the younger LGBTQIA+ sister, because Max is jealous that Kat is now getting all the rainbow-colored porn cards from strangers and Kat is jealous that everyone loves Max and they called her mean names at school. But even that isn’t enough to save this product placement of a dinner, not just for Nobu, but for the Dubrows as some sort of corporation of aspirational heteronormativity.
I like the scene between Heather and Kat a lot more where they are in the garden in matching aprons branded with the logo of whatever local nursery gave them the flowers for free. (When Heather’s whole thing is that she has so much money that she lives in the duty-free store of the Dubai airport, how is it that she’s also always trying to cash in?) Kat tells her mom that she’s thinking of taking down the giant rainbow flag in her room because someone on TickyTak commented, “Gay at 14? WTF?”
What I like about this is that, yes, Kat, we were all gay at 14, and I just wished there was some kind of platform to declare it to everyone I knew back then other than, what, the middle-school yearbook. As her mother counsels her, F everyone else. No good life was ever lived trying to make other people happy. Queer the fuck out. Be as F-slurry and D-slurry as you want to be, never apologize, and don’t even think about the consequences. Right now, you’re in a branded apron on reality television. As Dan Savage taught us, it gets better, sister.
All of these words are to say that, mostly, Heather bores me with her plights and gripes as bad as Achilles. (Oh, honey, that deep cut is courtesy of my MFA in poetry.) But somehow, someway, she always wins me back. When she attends Shannon’s “the producers told me to have a lunch party” luncheon, she shows up with a red box from Baccarat, and I rolled my eyes so hard that they ended up in season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But then Shannon opens it, and we find out it’s a candy dish full of THC edibles because Heather recently introduced Shannon to microdosing, and she loves it. Okay, this is an excellent gift.
We are also gifted with Shannon on a little microdose, and I gotta say, the editors earn their paycheck with the trippy visual of Shannon asking for cookies like she has the munchies. My one problem is that I want Shannon to macrodose. Can’t we get her, Snoop Dogg, Mauricio Umansky, and Andy Cohen to share a giant blunt on an episode of WWHL? Can she please show up to the next reunion on a whole pot brownie? I want to see Shannon absolutely zooted trying to take on the rest of these women and just bust into laughter when Noella finally speaks up.
Oh yes, we need to talk about Noella. I love Emily Simpson as much as Emily in Paris loves stupid hats and too-short pants, and it’s great that she is so patient with Noella when they go to get their mani-pedi. She tries to explain to Noella: You know, maybe you shouldn’t talk about yourself so much. Maybe not get so shouty and crazy whenever anyone disagrees with you. Maybe allow some oxygen in the room so that other humans and succulents can survive in the same Biosphere 2 as you.
Noella says that people don’t want to talk about her divorce all the time because “I’m threatening their projection of ‘Everything’s fine, we don’t talk about this.’” No, it’s not that deep. You’re just annoying. No one wants to hang out with a person who only talks about herself all the time. She says, “That my pain triggers something in you says something more about you than it does about me.” No, you are missing the point entirely. It’s not that people are triggered, they just want to be asked how work is going. They want to share the latest show they are watching on Netflix. They want to tell you that they went to a new restaurant the other night and had the best sticky toffee pudding. (That is what I want to tell you.)
This certainly applies during Shannon’s lunch when Dr. Jen shows up with her makeup and Botox disguises what is going on in her life, which is her husband Ryne went off searching for his missing vowels. (Maybe a dingo ate your vowels?) Apparently after their fight last episode, he packed his bags and left the house. Don’t worry, he was back a day later, passing out on the sofa with her holding hands. When Heather picks Jen up, Jen confides in her about what is going on and then says she doesn’t want to talk about it with the rest of the crew. A quarter hour later, she’s in Shannon’s backyard, being like, “Hey bitches. Who has two thumbs and is getting divorced?”
Jen’s turnaround is hilarious. Almost as hilarious as her saying in the car with Heather she wants a divorce and then an hour later saying she has no interest in getting divorced. That is clear though from the moment she started talking about it with the women. They all sat around and commiserated about being miserable in their marriages, with Emily talking about how she and Shane needed to write a mission statement for their marriage. Shannon says that she did a marriage boot camp, and Jen says she did the same thing. As soon as they discovered it, in my head, I chant, Show it! Show it! Show it! Oh, they do. They treat us, once again, to the footage of Shannon Stormy Daniels Beador lying in her own grave while David pleaded with her not to divorce him on national television.
While some of these women’s relationships didn’t make it, they weren’t talking about ending a relationship, they were talking about how to save one. They hear from Jen that she will do anything to make her marriage work — she just needs to get Ryne on board. As this conversation goes on, Noella asks, “Do you have a prenup?” Um, this is not helping because we all see where this is going. Everyone at the table tries to avert Noella away from conversation disaster when she says, “Just be aware that he could be out there retaining counsel.”
Noella is right; he could be. She is also in a position where just six weeks ago she was served papers out of the blue (according to her). I get where she is coming from. But that is not Dr. Jen’s problem. Noella can’t figure out how to make this situation about anyone other than herself. She couldn’t read this room if it was an audiobook being blasted at her on a Bluetooth speaker connected to her stackless vagina.
Emily finally snaps on Noella about always talking about her divorce, and we see Noella use one of Danielle Staub’s patented techniques, a kind of insidious insanity. Like Danielle, Noella drives everyone insane with her comments but then when they criticize her on it or raise their voices, she gets really quiet and is like, “Why are you yelling?” as if trying to make the aggrieved party look like the crazy person while she is throwing a party in the fake-moon-landing room of the QAnon hotel on the flattest part of the earth.
Wow, okay, this episode finally gets exciting, but I have to say, it has less to do with Heather Dubrow than it does with the real queen of the OC, Ms. Emily “pot-stirrer” Simpson. The Chef Boyardee of Newport Beach does it yet again when she has lunch with Heather and asks Heather why she is so jealous of Gina’s relationship with Heather.
She repeats this sentiment from her bestie Gina, who picked up on it at the lunch party. What Gina is misreading is that it’s not that Shannon is jealous of her relationship with Heather, it’s that Shannon just can’t be happy for other people. When Heather is talking about Gina’s new skin-care line (Seriously, Housewives, stop it with the skin-care lines. How much care does our skin need?), Shannon is like, “We’re so proud of you,” to cover her ass, but she says it with the same dead cadence she used when Gina gave Shannon a tour of her tiny condo. But thank you, Emily, for bringing this up and giving us enough story line for the rest of the season. Hopefully we won’t have to go back to Nobu any time soon.