This should be an easy recap, since half the episode was taken up by flashbacks.
Vicki is throwing a black-and-white-themed birthday party for herself. Vicki will of course wear red so she can get the attention she so desperately craves. She thinks a roast would be fun, because she doesn’t know what one is. How can a person be on this planet for over 50 years and not know what a roast is? I think Vicki is doing one of the ditzy bits she thinks make her look cute. They don’t. She abandons the idea after Briana tells her she will be crumpled in a corner, rocking back and forth after she hears her friends rake her over the coals. Too bad, because that–unlike everything else about this season–would have been fun to watch.
It’s Kelly Dodd, Peggy and Peggy’s daughters in a clothing store where one of the interchangeable daughters works. Kelly has cleared up some confusion for me by confirming that Peggy actually named her daughters Giovanna and Gianelle. Is her son named Gianni? I don’t know why that bugs me so much, except that it’s just another example of Peggy’s limited imagination and all-around transparency. For someone who talks nonstop about her Armenian heritage, Peggy sure seems to bend over backwards to appear Italian, what with the “Lambos” and the Gi-add-extra-letters-here names of her kids. We have to hear about Kelly’s vaginal rejuvenation AGAIN, and see a flashback of it AGAIN (flashback #1 for the episode), even though it has no place in this conversation. Kelly tries to make it seem like she can’t try on clothes because she is still sore from the procedure, but really she has absolutely nothing else to talk about. Naturally, Peggy plays dumb.
Meghan and Lydia are on a hike, talking about Meghan’s mother’s upcoming visit (insert flashback #2) and Doug’s vasectomy (insert flashback #3) before they get to the real point of the scene, which is to rehash drag queen bingo (insert flashback #4). Lydia was uncomfortable because every time the women get together, it ends up in a fight (insert flashback #5). Meghan is upset that Lydia thinks Kelly’s text about Jim cheating on Meghan was the same thing as Meghan’s text to Kelly asking if she had a boyfriend (insert flashback #6). Lydia is wrong. Meghan went straight to the source to get the real story after she heard a rumor about Kelly having a boyfriend. Kelly, being a reactionary adolescent, decided to “get Meghan back” for having the audacity to ask the question, and deliberately gave her some false information for the sole purpose of hurting Meghan. Lydia can frame it however she wants, but she is misreading the situation, as she is wont to do. Did Lydia miss the part where Kelly sneered that Meghan should be home with her baby instead of out filming scenes for the Real Housewives of Orange County? Maybe that happened while she was in the bathroom. Meghan realizes that this conversation is unsalvageable, and bids Lydia good-bye.
Tamra is in her kitchen making a cheesecake (please–Tamra would go back to being a brunette before she allowed a sliver of cheesecake to pass through her lips) for Eddie’s birthday when Vicki calls to invite her to coffee, prompting yet another series of flashbacks about Vicki talking to people about her and Tamra’s relationship. Gee, I’m on the edge of my seat. Will Tamra accept Vicki’s invitation?! The suspense! Of course she does, then immediately calls Shannon to recount the conversation. Shannon thinks Tamra’s willingness to give Vicki a second (or 37th) chance makes Tamra a kinder soul than Shannon is. No–Tamra just understands that meeting with Vicki means more screen time for herself.
Oh no, we’re going to Peggy and Diko’s house. I just cannot give these two poseurs any life, especially when their stupid banter about–you guessed it–Peggy’s feigned inability to understand a figure of speech is accompanied by whimsical pluckety-pluck music intended to make us chuckle at the charming immigrants. Insert more patently scripted flashbacks of Peggy pretending not to understand American colloquialisms, which were tedious and phony the first time around, and no less tedious and phony now. Peggy–get off my screen and go run a brush through your hair.
Meghan’s mother has arrived and we have to endure a flashback montage of Meghan’s IVF process, since Meghan’s mom stood in for an absent Jim. What is this, the 8th flashback of the episode? 9th? Oh my God–as Meghan is explaining that her hormones are out of whack we have a meta-flashback to her and Lydia’s conversation earlier in the episode. This entire show is being cobbled together with snippets from the Bravo archives, and it’s just getting ridiculous at this point. Meghan looks great in her talking heads, though.
Shannon’s kids are making a poor, sad birthday cake for her to mirror her poor, sad life. David rubs salt in the wound by reminding Shannon that this time last year they were on the way to the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe where David surprised her with a vow renewal ceremony. What, no flashback? They discuss the state of their relationship and David admits he wishes they were in a better place. Since she’s been so stressed about Vicki’s accusations he has pulled away from her, frustrated because he couldn’t convince her to let it go. Shannon pounces on this statement and accuses him of blaming her for driving him away, which he kind of is. These two are a train wreck. Shannon lets loose a litany of complaints about her marriage: David hasn’t held her hand in six months, they never go out to dinner together, he doesn’t sent her loving texts anymore and they don’t spend any time together. David shrugs off her concerns, saying that every relationship has its ups and downs. Or in Shannon and David’s case, its ups when he is groveling to get back in her favor after his affair, and its downs the rest of the time.
The Beadors sit down to dinner and David says grace, asking God to mend his and Shannon’s relationship. Which is creepy because their daughters are sitting at the table. Do these girls need to be privy to every one of their parents’ marital struggles?
It’s the day of Vicki’s birthday party and she and her sister are getting their hair and makeup done. One of the glam squad members mentions they look alike, which is not exactly true. Vicki’s sister is way prettier than Vicki. Vicki crows about how happy she is when her family is around, and we have YET ANOTHER flashback to some occasion when Vicki’s mother was still alive and Vicki was probably hounding her for validation. And then ANOTHER one to illustrate how Vicki’s love of chaos and drama derives from her wacky upbringing.
Ryan and Steve give Briana and Vicki matching guns. How jingoistic of them. Across town, Shannon is hosting a birthday dinner for Eddie (whose friend James looks like Jody from Shameless) at a gimmicky restaurant that is exactly like that one cruise ship restaurant on the Seattle season of Top Chef. Is there any originality left in the collective brains of Bravo producers? The talk turns to Vicki and Tamra’s impending coffee date, complete with a flashback of the telephone conversation we just saw about thirty minutes ago. Not surprisingly, Shannon is not happy about a possible reconciliation between Vicki and Tamra.
The B-Team is assembled at Vicki’s birthday party, where every one of her guests ignores her grand entrance. Which is probably a good thing, because her dress is woefully unflattering. Not able to abide a single second when she isn’t sucking all the life out of a room, Vicki starts singing “Happy Birthday” to herself to get everyone’s attention. This woman possesses not one iota of shame. Jeana Keough is there, so another flashback is required to back up Vicki’s claim that she and Jeana have been friends for 15 years. God, we KNOW! Stop with the fucking flashbacks!
Lydia is worried that Shannon will be mad at her for blowing off Eddie’s birthday dinner in favor of attending Vicki’s self-aggrandizing shindig. Another flashback of Doug and Lydia discussing Shannon’s invitation. Seriously??!! Peggy assures Lydia that she should be worried, because Peggy has zero insight and no social graces.
Gretchen and Lizzie arrive. Lizzie looks great; Gretchen, as usual, looks like she just stepped out of a Vegas revue. Where does she buy her clothes? Her wardrobe is cartoonish. Speaking of cartoonish, we flash back to the 80’s-themed Bunco party where Vicki and Gretchen screamed at each other over their respective mates’ subpar parenting. But they’re good now, because Gretchen has a very important role to play at this party.
After a series of Vicki’s manic exhortations to “whoop it up,” we get to the point of the party. Vicki tells Lydia of her and Tamra’s plan to meet for coffee, and Lydia waxes enthusiastic about her belief in love, in friendship and in Vicki and Tamra. Lydia is way too invested in this relationship. On the heels of this conversation about her long lost friend Tamra, Vicki sits down with Kelly, Gretchen, Lizzie and Gretchen’s gay friend to dish the dirt about Eddie. Kelly gets the ball rolling by telling everyone that Lizzie–not Vicki–was the first one to tell her the rumor about Eddie being gay (flashback to Vicki and Tamra fighting about the rumor). Gretchen asks the gay guy about it, and he says that he saw Eddie make out with a guy once. He didn’t tell his good girlfriend Tamra about it (even though he served as her best man at her wedding to Eddie–flashback!) because he figured she knew about it and was okay with it.
Vicki makes a spectacle of herself sputtering and overreacting to this revelation, then, in her talking head, insists she doesn’t want to hear confirmation of the rumor. She doesn’t want to hear it, “lalalalalala” – she’s covering her ears–but really she wants to know more. Ha ha, isn’t Vicki’s juvenile gossip mongering funny? Maybe Tamra and Eddie have a super hot, open sex life like Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand from Game of Thrones, and are more evolved than the likes of Vicki Gunvalson. Oh wait–a slobbering troglodyte is more evolved than Vicki Gunvalson, so I guess that’s not saying much.
Still to come on RHOC: more embarrassment for Americans as the Housewives screech their way through Iceland, their ignorance and provincialism on blast for the world to see as they insult the local customs every chance they get.