RHOC Episode 4 Recap: There’s A New Puppet Master in Town

Shannon arrives at Tamra’s to rehash the Quiet Woman debacle. Tamra asks what happened, as if she doesn’t know. Shannon lost. her. shit. That’s what happened. Over at the beach, Kelly Dodd and Michael gossip about the evening. Michael thinks that Shannon and Kelly could be friends, but Kelly thinks the new puppet master–Tamra–won’t let that happen. She hatches a plot to cultivate Tamra in hopes of repairing her relationship with Shannon.

Lydia is throwing a birthday party for her son Stirling’s 8th birthday. It is a ridiculously over-the-top movie-themed affair. These OC parents need to learn to manage their children’s expectations. Eight is not exactly a significant number, so when Stirling gets this kind of shindig for his eighth birthday, what is he going to expect when he’s 10? 16? 18? I feel sorry for the actor who is reduced to playing emcee at a kid’s birthday party. He is surely lamenting the state of his career as he mugs and clowns for a roomful of children.

Vicki and Kelly arrive and we meta-rehash the Quiet Woman incident. Not only do Lydia, Vicki and Kelly talk about it, but in the midst of their conversation footage is shown of Kelly filling Vicki in about it on the ride over. Enough about the Q-Dub already. Is this season so uneventful that any drama that goes down needs to be milked to this extent? I hope the PTB at Bravo realize this show has jumped the shark and cancel it. It makes me happy to think of Vicki Gunvalson losing her national TV platform and being left with only her minions at the Coto Insurance empire to feed her pathetically needy ego.

New housewife Peggy shows up in her ridiculous two-toned ride. Vicki, never able to conceal her rampant materialism, is mesmerized by the size of her ring. She is probably recalling bitter memories of Donn’s failure to gift her with extravagant baubles. Don’t worry Vicki–it’s probably fake.

The women engage in small talk before the conversation turns to Shannon. Lydia’s mother is dying to sprinkle her with fairy dust. Vicki kisses up to the new girl since she needs to line up some supporters before the season gets into full swing. When Peggy tells her about her recent mastectomy, Vicki says that if she needs anything–anything at all–just call Vicki and she’ll be there day or night. I would find it a bit off-putting if someone I just met came on so strongly, but Peggy is touched.

Vicki picks Kelly up for her vaginal rejuvenation appointment. God, the Housewives need some new material! It was icky and boring when Sonja did it, and it’s icky and boring when Kelly does it. What’s next? Vicki and Kelly scream and writhe through the 957th Real Housewives bikini wax scene?

Speaking of needing new material, Shannon’s daughter is learning how to drive. Shannon obviously went to the Kyle Richards School of Drama because she feigns horror just like Kyle did when she shot this exact same scene with her daughter. Shannon’s performance is a little better because her neuroses are more authentic.

Tamra is nervous about the speech she’s slated to give at the upcoming Erasing Family gala, at which she’ll continue to exploit her teenage daughter for sympathy and ratings. Tamra fake-cries as she recounts their latest meeting to Ryan. Things with Ryan and his on-again-off-again fiance Sarah are difficult. He finds step-parenting challenging but through his experiences has learned to appreciate why Simon was such an asshole to him. Tamra wants Ryan and Sarah to understand that, if they break up for good, they need to maintain a healthy relationship for their daughter’s sake. She doesn’t want him to go through a messy divorce/split like she, her parents and her grandparents went through.

Kelly arrives at Meghan’s with a gift for baby Aspen. I’m so glad Meghan spells Aspen’s name with an “e” instead of a “y” like the Sister Wives. If you try too hard to be unique you just end up looking like you’re trying too hard to be unique. Meghan hasn’t seen Kelly for awhile because she heard Kelly was dating some guy and asked her about it. Kelly didn’t appreciate the question and, when Meghan was seven months pregnant, fired back that “she just thought [Meghan] should know” that Jim is cheating on her. What a good friend.

Meghan wasn’t upset about the substantive information contained in Kelly’s text because she knows it’s not true. She was upset because Kelly sent it to her when she was seven months pregnant. So she cut Kelly out for a few months then let her back in because it’s easier to be friends with Kelly than to fight with her. Meghan is wise beyond her years.

Kelly tells Meghan her version of the Quiet Woman (again?!) story and acknowledges that she told Shannon to “keep eating” just to push her buttons. Meghan says she’s good at that, and before the conversation can go south, the nanny brings Aspen into the room. Nothing derails a potential catfight like a cute little baby.

Vicki arrives at Peggy’s and starts foaming at the mouth when she sees all the fancy cars in Peggy’s garage. She laughingly dubs Peggy a princess and thus confirms that she is kissing up to her out of necessity. Nothing awakens the green-eyed monster in Vicki more than her perception that another woman has more stuff or a more generous husband than Vicki does. Vicki is surely gnashing her teeth, but she’s playing the long game with Peggy and keeps her jealousy under wraps for now.

Peggy likes Vicki because she believed Vicki was sincere when she offered to drop everything if Peggy needed her. Poor, naive Peggy. She’ll learn. Peggy starts to talk about how she doesn’t like to talk about her mother’s death. Then lets us know that her father recently died. Vicki takes the opportunity to make it about herself and her mother’s death, because no matter how bad anyone else has it, she has it worse. There is a flashback of her shameless display at Shannon’s Bunco party when she got the news of her mother’s death. Any semblance of dignity that may lurk deep within Vicki Gunvalson is immediately jettisoned when she identifies an opportunity to be the center of attention.

Tamra’s family gathers at her house to pre-party before the Erasing Family gala, sans her mother. Tamra feels slighted by her mother’s absence but suspects it’s because her father is there with his new wife, aka her mother’s former best friend. Tamra says that when you’re erased from your child’s life it makes you feel like a bad parent. Maybe that’s because your child erased you from her life because you’re a bad parent.

Tamra gives an inspirational speech in which she describes how whenever someone tells her that her daughter will eventually come back into her life, she wants to punch them in the throat. And then she wants to punch them in the throat again. And again. Those Christian values are really on display here.

Next week: The Eileen Davidson Accord expires just in time for Peggy to tell Meghan to zip it.

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