RHOC Episode 12 Recap: In the Middle of the Peanut Gallery

I’m always annoyed by Peggy’s tagline: “I’m living the American dream, one sportscar at a time.” Not only is it completely lame and indicative of her venal value system, it is a ripoff of RHONY’s Kelly Killoren Bensimon, who was living the American dream one mistake at a time.

Kelly Dodd is going in for her breast reduction surgery and happy that Michael is there for her to lean on. She always complains about her marriage, but it seems to be in pretty good shape compared to the many Housewives marriages we’ve seen crumble over the years. Speaking of which…

UPDATE: A couple of hours after I posted this recap, Kelly announced she had filed for divorce. I guess my marriage-ometer is off.

Shannon is panting away on the spin bike David bought her, cursing at the virtual instructor and complaining about how she hates exercise, especially spinning. Of course David bought Shannon the one exercise apparatus she despises most. Does anyone like spinning? People pretend to, but Shannon is right when she says the seat is uncomfortable to the point of being painful, and the inevitably sinewy instructors’ barked orders to pull away from the “pack” are beyond irritating. I always laugh at those Peloton commercials that depict a morning spinning session like it’s some kind of peaceful caesura, complete with a misty sunrise and steaming cup of (I assume herbal) tea. Please. I recently reconnected cable because I watch too much broadcast tv for streaming to be cost effective, so while I’m happy to have access to all my shows again, I am not pleased about having to endure the pandering, condescending and downright stupid commercials that come with them.

A parade of well-wishers visits Kelly as she’s recovering from her surgery. Vicki arrives first, telling Kelly she looks beautiful but telling us in her talking head that Kelly looks like a hot mess. That Vicki, such a great friend. Meghan, who actually is a great friend, visits Kelly because she understands that Kelly goes for the jugular when she’s upset and takes responsibility for upsetting her. They both apologize to each other because each of them values the other’s friendship. I find it interesting that Meghan, whom all these 40- and 50-something women originally dismissed as a 30-year-old know-nothing, actually knows more and is infinitely more mature than her elder castmates.

But maybe Meghan is rubbing off on Shannon, because Shannon also visits Kelly, noting that she is able to forgive Kelly for her past behavior because Kelly, unlike Vicki, has shown remorse over it. For all of Shannon’s craziness, she has moments of clarity where you can see that she might be kind of cool if her self-esteem wasn’t entirely dependent on the state of her marriage.

Shannon’s craziness is the topic of conversation du jour, as everyone discusses her most recent meltdown with Lydia. Everyone, including Shannon, thinks the whole thing was juvenile. Tamra thinks Shannon’s oversensitivity is becoming tiresome, but Kelly recognizes that Shannon’s emotional fragility is a result of her tenuous relationship with David. Kelly sees that Shannon is taking it out on everyone except David, but warns that Shannon needs to get some perspective on how she’s behaving or she risks alienating her friends. Kelly Dodd is a regular font of wisdom this episode–who would have thunk it?!

Yuck, Peggy. Peggy is pretending to teach her daughter how to cook, Armenian-style. The cabbage rolls she’s making look like blunts, so of course Diko pretends not to know what a blunt is, and Peggy pretends not to know who Cheech and Chong are. A typical day of fakery in the Sulahian household.

Lydia is planning to throw a “Balls Voyage” party for Doug. That’s pretty original, considering that Kelly just threw a “Boobs Voyage” party for herself during the last episode. She calls Vicki first, because whether or not Vicki will attend affects whether the other housewives will show up. Fortunately Vicki is on her deathbed with the sniffles some rare form of the flu so she is out of commission.

Thank God we’re spared the requisite scene of one housewife calling all the other housewives, one by one, to invite them so some event. Everyone except Lydia and Vicki is meeting for dinner, so Lydia will only have to make one call to invite them to her party. Before she does, however, there are other subjects to discuss.

Shannon has eschewed alcohol during her weight loss journey, except for all those times she’s guzzled booze so far this season. A helpful montage reminds us that for Shannon, eschewing alcohol means making a beeline for the bar at every opportunity. Kelly has bounced back from her surgery in record time, which prompts Peggy to wonder if she’ll be as fortunate after her reconstructive surgery. Since Peggy brought it up, Meghan asks if she opted for a double mastectomy because she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Peggy is offended by the question, wondering who would ask whether someone has cancer? I wonder how Peggy could possibly question Meghan’s inquiry, when she has inserted her double mastectomy into every conversation she’s had with these ladies. It’s natural for them to ask her why she had it done. Peggy, as usual, is being disingenuous.

She is also incredibly inarticulate, as everyone is still confused as to whether or not she was actually diagnosed with cancer. Based on what she has said, in alternatively conflicting and circuitous ways, I think this is what happened. Peggy was freaked out because her mother died from breast cancer, so, despite having no lump or other symptoms, she decided to be proactive in determining whether or not she was at risk. Apparently she had a battery of tests, during which the doctors found three millimeters of abnormal cells that had the potential of becoming cancerous. Even though she tested negative for the BRCA gene and had not been diagnosed with breast cancer, she opted to remove the possibility by undergoing an elective double mastectomy. All this makes sense, but because Peggy is incapable of clearly explaining the process, something about it seems shady and attention-seeking. Luckily for Peggy, Meghan has retired her cancer detective badge and accepts that Peggy, like Meghan’s mother, simply opted for preventive surgery. I hope this is the end of it, because I am beyond sick of Peggy, her husband, her daughters, and her double mastectomy.

It’s time for Lydia to call with her “Balls Voyage” party invitation. She’s upset that she wasn’t invited to dinner, when she takes pains to invite everyone to everything. Shannon arranged the dinner, so did she exclude Lydia on purpose? Lydia has provoked Shannon, gaslighted her, and made it clear she doesn’t like her, so why is she surprised Shannon wouldn’t invite her? I don’t like Lydia’s sparkle, and I wish Bravo would let me get off her rainbow. Once everyone learns that Vicki will not be attending Lydia’s party, they agree to go and ask her to text them the details, but Lydia, in a snit over not being included in the dinner, has hung up.

Shannon calmly (for her) explains why she was upset with Lydia at Kelly’s party, then segues into how Peggy tried to stop her from defending Tamra at said party. Kelly tells Peggy it was not her place to insert herself into the argument because it was none of her business. You tell her, Kelly! Peggy of course pretends not to understand Kelly’s use of the phrase “peanut gallery,” a tactic I’m starting to think is Peggy’s way of diverting the direction of conversations she doesn’t like. Maybe it usually works for her, but she hasn’t come up against Kelly Dodd before, and Kelly Dodd is not going to be diverted. Kelly rephrases and tells Peggy she shouldn’t have put herself in the middle, but Peggy, tenaciously refusing to give up her shtick, pretends that Kelly is saying Peggy physically placed herself in the middle of Vicki/Kelly and Tamra/Shannon. Peggy wasn’t standing in the middle of them–she was standing behind them, therefore Kelly is wrong. Kelly has had enough of Peggy’s spurious misinterpretations and snaps, “Didn’t you go to UCLA?”

Everyone except humorless Peggy snickers that they must have taught about peanut galleries and the middle at USC, and when Meghan tries to clarify what Kelly is saying, Peggy barks that she understands perfectly what Kelly is saying–Kelly is trying to accuse her of something she didn’t do. That is not what is happening here. Kelly is pointing out that Peggy had no place inserting herself into the middle of an argument, and Peggy is trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for overstepping her bounds by using semantic gymnastics. Everyone sees you, Peggy–it’s time you start seeing yourself.

When Peggy goes to the ladies’ room, everyone discusses their confusion about whether or not she has cancer–they all should take a cue from Meghan and let it go. Please stop giving Peggy’s obfuscations life, people.

The talk turns to Lydia’s party, and how Vicki is too sick to attend. Everyone laughs at how dramatic Vicki is; Shannon calls her a victim and Meghan openly mocks her claim to have the MOST rare and MOST serious form of the flu. Stick-in-the-mud Peggy is not amused, but I am when Meghan wants to know what hospital Vicki went to and her medical record number. HA! I guess her detective badge is only semi-retired.

The new and improved Kelly Dodd wins the episode, but I really hope the old Kelly makes an appearance to take down rude, dismissive and transparent Peggy.

Next week: the husbands corner Diko about his wife’s shady cancer status, David’s distant behavior reminds Shannon of his affair, and the Tamra/Vicki will-they-or-won’t-they-make-up nonsense continues.

 

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