The most shocking thing in this episode didn’t even happen in the episode but after the unwarranted “To Be Continued …” at a dinner in Cabo. We got the “Coming up this season on RHOC” trailer. It was good. Very good, but this usually happens at the season’s halfway point. Does that mean we’re only getting 14 episodes this year? That’s one fewer than the season of Vanderpump Rules that just ended, and we’ve already had twice as much action here in the OC than any of the SURvers could muster. Was there a break for COVID? Did everyone decide they couldn’t film anymore after Noella locked herself in a doghouse and needed the paramedics to come fetch her? (That’s what it looked like was going on in the trailer.) I have no idea, but I’m not yet ready for this season to end because I’m enjoying it.
Before we can talk about all the drama with Noella, a crayon melting in the back seat of your minivan, we need to talk about one of my favorite topics: Emily Simpson in a one-piece. At the start of the episode, she goes bathing-suit shopping with Dr. Jen and Nicole, the mask of the red-bottomed death. When she gets to the store, she says, “Hmm, maybe a bikini.” No! Emily! Do! Not! There is no one on the face of the Earth who looks better in a one-piece than her. It is her signature. Do not give it up! Emily tries on a bikini and, of course, looks fucking banging because she is Emily Simpson and she always looks great. But then she tries on a one-piece, and Nicole says, “I love the one-piece.” Of course you do, because Emily looks fucking great in them year in and year out. Just like Lisa Rinna has iconic hair, Emily Simpson has an iconic bathing-suit choice. I’m glad that when they finally get to riding horses on the beach, Emily is clothed as she should be with spandex covering her navel. NO wonder the Champagne bottles were popping spontaneously. It’s ’cause Emily was getting them all shaken and stirred.
Before they can even get to Cabo, Gina has to come over to Heather’s abandoned department store of a house and ask her if she will invite Noella on the trip. Having gone through her own divorce drama immediately after being cast on the show, Heather is sympathetic to Noella and would rather have her be in Cabo with the group than worry about her sitting at home alone. It’s weird that Noella is telling all the women how lonely she is without them. Doesn’t she have real friends? After seeing how she behaved the rest of the episode, the answer is no. Heather agrees to invite her, but Gina has to be Noella’s lady-sitter and make sure she behaves the whole time. It is a bargain as fair as a $5 foot-long.
There is another topic of conversation that I take offense with, though. Heather says that Noella brought her daughter Max a gift for the launch of her book. It is an LGBTQ+-themed card game because they’re both bisexual or something. However, the cards say things like, “Getting your ass ate” and “Getting your pussy ate” and a bunch of other gross things that were comically bleeped out with the bleep lasting longer than Meghan King Edmonds’s most recent marriage. Heather says these are “pornographic.” I don’t know. I feel like pornography needs to have some visual component and that something being sexually explicit and pornographic is totally different. But we don’t have any context for what the card game is and how these cards are being used. Is it like Cards Against Humanity and these are the answers to prompts and are supposed to be funny? Are these things that people should do to each other? Are these like a guide to better sex? I can’t say.
What I can say is it is nuts that Heather had this list in her phone because you know she was planning on using it as ammo against Noella. Heather is clearly using “pornography” to make a bad faith argument. Are they inappropriate for a 17-year-old? Most likely. Did Noella know the game was so lewd when she gifted it to her? I don’t know. But also, 17-year-olds are sexual creatures. I know this because I watch an HBO documentary series called Euphoria. I have a 17-year-old nephew. I have to be an idiot to think he’s not yanking his crank behind closed doors. Wouldn’t it be healthy to give our children the message that, within reason, some sexual material is okay and that a little aid for some self-pleasure might not be the worst thing?
All of the ladies fly private to Cabo, except Nicole, who didn’t come because Noella is going, and Noella, who is showing up later because, as I like to say of Noella, of course. They get to this gorgeous villa with a door that is a giant sun like it is the front door to a tacky bar called Tequila Katie’s. There are a bunch of casitas around the property and no one gives Gina a trigger warning for when she had to live in one immediately after her divorce. Their first day seems fun enough with Shannon, Emily, and Gina going off horseback riding and falling out of a hammock like they’re in a Three Stooges movie and Heather talking to Dr. Jen about how she had a huge tumor removed from her femur in her 20s and now she’s in constant pain. That’s what I love about Dr. Jen. Whenever she pops her head up above the fray to say something, it is a complete and total tragedy.
Then Noella shows up. Of course, she’s late. Of course, she forgot her passport. Of course, she is pissed no one is there to greet her. Of course, of course, of course. She tries to tell us, “This is my first trip not on a private plane, and I didn’t know I needed my passport to leave the country.” Oh, honey. It’s not like your last name is Rothschild. You have flown commercial for way longer than you flew private. You remember what it is like. You’re just trying to come off way cooler than you. But even if Noella knew she needed her passport, of course, she’s the type of person to forget it if only to make herself stand out a bit more with the drama.
This is what is going on at the dinner. Noella only wants to talk about whatever she wants to talk about and make sure that everything happening around the table is directed at her. She is like Ursula the Sea Witch, but instead of feeding off of someone else’s voice, she feeds off their attention, and she is clearly getting it. Just look at the stink she makes about her warm tequila. She tells the server, “Can I get it in a glass like this?” She then takes her water glass, throws the water on the ground, and then asks to put ice in it. All of that is unnecessary. That guy is going to bring you a glass of ice. Just chill. But of course. Of course, she has to make it a thing.
It seems like we missed some important steps about just how she orders her dinner, but of course, it is an ordeal. Of course, she asks the waiter what the special is and then probably sees that they have octopus, but she doesn’t like how they prepare it so, of course, she asks for something off menu, and they bring it and then, of course, she doesn’t eat it. Of course. You can just see Noella making a stink bigger than 19 dead skunks about a meal she had no intention of eating.
When Gina and Emily tell her maybe she should eat this dinner that she made a whole production out of because you can tell people, including Heather, are annoyed, Noella is like, “I don’t care what Heather thinks about me.” And here is what I love about Noella. She knows that Heather totally sent Nicole bathing-suit shopping with Dr. Jen and Emily to talk shit about Noella and try to get them to be okay with her not traveling with the group. She gets it. She sees what is happening.
But that doesn’t mean that Heather is wrong about her. Noella should care that she looks like an asshole in front of everyone (including the viewers), which Gina and Emily are trying to prevent. They’re trying to make Noella’s life easier, and she can’t see it because she has no idea what she does isn’t the norm. She has no idea how annoyed everyone is by her because that would mean taking a moment to think about other people’s feelings which is not something Noella seems accustomed to doing. That’s the thing about her that I would find exasperating. Just like Heather, I would hate how much work she makes everything. How nothing is easy with her. She takes something like going on a trip, ordering dinner, showing up at a free luxury Mexican villa, and turns it into a fucking chore. Yeah, I love that her thirst is coming for Heather’s phony, but at this point, I’m ready to let phony win.