RHONY Recap: S10, Ep. 4 – “Fashion No-ment”

We return to Luann’s brunch, where Dorinda is in the midst of storming out after her epic meltdown over Sonja’s nutjob-iness. Luann is pleading with Dorinda to cut Sonja some slack (since she’s a nutjob) but Dorinda is having none of it; Ramona is pleading with Sonja to apologize to Dorinda but Sonja–as usual–refuses to take any responsibility for her part in this mess.

2018-04-26 (1)

Dorinda gets in a last dig at Sonja, throwing out that if Richard were alive, he would still love and respect her, whereas Sonja threw her marriage away by cheating on her husband. Sonja denies she would have ever jeopardized her “beautiful marriage” like that, but Luann seems to confirm that Sonja’s fooling around in the South of France was indeed the reason for her divorce. I don’t doubt it–Sonja seems to have a hard time staying away from the D.

2018-04-26.png

As Ramona and a still-hysterical Dorinda drive away, Ramona gets down to the real problem here: she is having a dinner that night–seated! with one table!–and two of her guests may never speak to each other again. What is she going to do??! Ramona has some nerve. It’s a good thing she made that comment in a talking head, because since Dorinda was offended by the audacity of Sonja’s narcissism, hearing the audacity of Ramona’s narcissism might have sent her completely over the edge.

Over in Bridgehampton, Bethenny is showing Carole and Tinsley her new investment property. It’s an 8-bedroom, 6-bath property with an unfinished attic and therefore tons of potential. It’s also one of the few historic properties left in the Hamptons, because people keep knocking down older houses to build McMansions. Here is where there is a regional disconnect because, where I live, an 8-bedroom, 6-bath house IS a McMansion.

While the three of them are outside admiring the pool, Carole calls Dorinda in response to her distraught text. Naturally Carole, being a widow herself, sympathizes with Dorinda in the brunch debacle, while Bethenny, having been through the world’s nastiest divorce, can see Sonja’s point of view. Dorinda thinks divorce is a choice, while death is a tragedy. I’m not sure it’s that black and white–who’s to say what constitutes a tragedy in someone else’s life?

Ramona is discussing her investment philosophy with Dorinda as they get ready for the dinner party. She would rather have her money in a SOUTH of the highway Hamptons house that she can use and enjoy rather than in the stock market where it just sits there. Her house has appreciated seven times over and she can periodically rent it out tax-free. This actually makes sense. Ramona is so crazy, I forget she’s a business woman who has done pretty well for herself. Ramona likes to comment on her own success, which is kind of annoying, but she tempers that by pointing out that she came from nothing and built everything she has on her own. (With a little help from Mario, I’m sure). I loved that about Heather (holla!), too. It’s much better than Sonja pretending she was to the manor born all the time.

Everyone arrives, and as Bethenny points out, they all look ridiculous. Carole is the worst offender with her “fashion moment” tattoo body suit, but Bethenny, Bethenny’s boyfriend Dennis, Luann and Ramona are all tarted up like they’re on their way to a poor man’s Carnivale. And Tinsley is wearing yet another oversized bow.

Sonja and Ramona immediately get into it because Sonja is miffed Ramona didn’t stick up for her at Luann’s brunch. Tinsley hears their raised voices and wants to stay away from the fray, but Dorinda channels the “Meddler” and tells her she should jump in there with them. Before she can, Ramona calls everyone to the table, where it’s about to go down.

Carole is confused because she thought this was supposed to be a party celebrating her marathon run, but there it is just a family-style buffet with no marathon memorabilia. “Marathon memorabilia”-huh? What is she expecting? Ramona gives a nice toast congratulating Carole on her achievement, and that should be enough for Princess Radziwill.

2018-04-26 (11).png

Luann, not realizing that Bethenny’s date is the “married man” she accused Bethenny of dating at the last reunion, tries to make polite small talk by asking how he and Bethenny met. An awkward moment ensues when everyone informs her that this is in fact THE Dennis, but the Countess recovers nicely, even, at Bethenny’s shrewish prompting, apologizing to him for her reunion comments. I remember a time when this little exchange would have devolved into a Berkshires-style throwdown, but in this case everyone lets is go and all–surprisingly–is well.

2018-04-26 (13)

Sonja is mad that she is relegated to the corner of the table when Dorinda, who she thinks started the brouhaha at the brunch, is “right in the middle” of the table. Not true–Dorinda is at the other end of the table, in the same seat Sonja is, but on the opposite side. Sonja starts babbling about Rocco to her “Hamptons friends,” and somehow Dorinda hears her from her end of the table, hollers that Sonja is not dating Rocco and calls her a “liar, liar, ho on fire.” Dorinda is obviously getting into the wine, and that can only bode well for the evening. Clip, clip.

2018-04-26-15.png

Sonja fires back that she IS dating Rocco and she’s not a liar. This is Tinsley’s cue to ask Sonja why she’s been going around town lying about her and her finances. Sonja maintains that she’s not lying about Tinsley, and her money is coming from somewhere–her boyfriend, her “mommy” –but not from Tinsley herself. She doesn’t believe Tinsley paid for the infamous gift card or anything else in her life, prompting Tinsley to jump up and yell at Sonja to close her mouth and close her legs. Good advice.

2018-04-26 (16)

Tinsley writes out a check to pay Sonja back for her room and board, but Sonja doesn’t want her money–she wants her love. Huh? Then maybe Sonja shouldn’t be telling Page Six that Tinsley is basically a high-class escort. She tries to return the check to Tinsley but Tinsley throws it back at her. Bethenny intercepts it and burns it over one of the candles on the table, thus ending that little bit of drama.

The caterers come out with a cake for Carole, and everyone congratulates her once again on the marathon.

2018-04-26 (21)

Still unsatisfied, Carole gives Ramona’s attempt at a “themed” marathon party an F. How gracious. Where did Carole get the idea this was supposed to be a theme party anyway? What’s wrong with getting friends together for a nice dinner in your honor? Obviously they threw better parties at ABC News when Carole worked there. Because she used to work at ABC News. In case you didn’t know.

The next morning, Dorinda and Ramona are having some hair of the dog while Ramona shows a nice text she received from, of all people, John Mahdessian. She asks Dorinda about the state of her and John’s relationship, and what Dorinda says without really saying it is that she has outgrown John. Interesting. And finally!

Ramona may have gotten a nice text from John, but she’s gotten a nasty text from her former BFF Sonja.

2018-04-26 (26)

It’s basically a verbose rehash of everything she said to Ramona at the party last night that ends with her calling Ramona an “unfeeling POS.” Neither Ramona nor Dorinda know what is going on with Sonja, but they’re both over her behavior.

As is Tinsley, who is rehashing the previous night with Carole over at the Topping Rose. The Sonja she used to know was fun and light-hearted, but the Sonja of today just seems dark and depressed. Everyone pretty much agrees that Sonja is, in Bethenny’s word, “imploding.” She’s actually been imploding for about 4 seasons now, but where she used to be merely pathetic, she’s now becoming pathetic and mean.

Tinsley and Carole hit up the bartender for place cards for yet another brunch–will these women never learn? (And of course the bartender at the fancy Topping Rose has a supply of place cards on hand.) They relegate Sonja to the end of the table again, far away from Tinsley and Dorinda, and place her across from Ramona, with whom they think she is still on good terms–they don’t know about the text yet. Ramona is not pleased with the placement and concocts a scheme to relocate to the other end of the table without making it seem she’s deliberately removing herself from Sonja’s presence.

2018-04-26 (29).png

She pretends to consult Dorinda and Tinsley about a decorating project, while at the other end of the table Sonja is complaining about Ramona to Carole. She babbles about being the fun one at all the parties and then having to go home and be in the trenches. No one knows what she’s talking about and they all tell her she’s losing the “fun.” Ramona yells down the table that Sonja needs to learn how to listen, but before it can descend into yet another screaming altercation, the Countess steps in and asks for the check.  With that, another delightful Housewives brunch is in the can.

 

 

 

 

RHONY Recap: Til Brunch Do Us Part

It’s Veterans Day weekend, and everyone is headed to the Hamptons for Bethenny’s birthday. Bethenny is a Scorpio–that explains a lot. Sonja as usual is a flustered mess trying to pack, and ends up dragging the equivalent of the contents of three bag ladies’ grocery carts plus her dog onto the Hampton Jitney.

 

2018-04-19.png

It would be a nightmare to be seated next to Sonja on the Jitney, or a plane–anything really–and have to endure her harmless but inane chatter for the entire trip. But is she really harmless? The other ladies aren’t so sure.

Dorinda is driving Tinsley and Carole out East and they spend the drive ripping on Sonja.

2018-04-19 (2)

They all agree that Sonja is “nasty nice,” couching her digs in seeming compliments. Tinsley is mad at her for saying Scott pays for Tinsley’s life, which, as Tinsley indignantly points out, is ridiculous because she has always lived in the style to which she is currently accustomed–she was a debutante and grew up in the biggest house in Richmond, for God’s sake! (And this was before she married a Mortimer and ruled the Manhattan social scenes.) Tinsley doesn’t really have a problem with being a kept woman, but the point is that she doesn’t have to be one in order to maintain her lifestyle. I love Tinsley–she’s a Lu in training, mugshot and all.

Lu stops into a lovely little cheese shop in Sag Harbor to order a gift basket for Bethenny. She fills it with wine, cheese, aged balsamic vinegar and other specialty products from the area. I would LOVE to receive one of Lu’s gift baskets, but I’m pretty sure Bethenny will find something hateful to say about it–she just can’t help herself.

2018-04-19 (3)

While the gift basket is being prepared, Lu heads over to the local hardware store to begin fulfilling her weekend house guest Sonja’s list of demands. Sonja is juicing, so to begin with, she needs a blender. I wonder why Luann doesn’t already have a blender, but apparently she doesn’t. I also wonder how regular people like hardware store workers and cheese shop owners can afford to live in the Hamptons–either they have long commutes, are independently wealthy, or their families have lived there for generations and bought land when it was going for about ten cents an acre–which probably means that by now they are independently wealthy.

Bethenny seems mildly miffed that Carole is staying in a hotel with Tinsley instead of with her, but thinks it could be for the best since her daughter Brynn is at the house this weekend. Just to make sure, she calls up one of her trusty sycophants–this one is identified as “Meghan–Brand Manager”–who naturally validates this notion by telling Bethenny that she needs her space. I feel like most of the people who work for Bethenny bear vague, courtesy titles like “Brand Manager” or “Product Specialist,” but are really only there to alternately stroke her ego and talk her off the ledge. I guarantee you they are earning every dime they make.

Ramona has a fancy new car that she thinks is sexy, powerful and energetic–just like her. She is revamping her Hamptons home and has purchased some new art for it. The artist and his friend for some reason are standing in her driveway when she arrives, and she immediately ropes them into helping her carry in her luggage, move her new furniture around and fix her TV. As Ramona herself points out, she is not one to let an opportunity for underlings (Ramona perceives pretty much everyone as an underling) to do her bidding go by.

I wonder if the editors are as over Sonja as Tinsley and Dorinda are, because, after showing us Luann’s sporty new 2-seater Mercedes and Ramona’s Maserati or whatever it is, they show Sonja pulling up to Luann’s house in her circa 1997 Mercedes, baggage and dog in tow. She neglected to tell Lu she was bringing her dog, but the Countess takes it in stride. I’m sure Lu is long-resigned to the fact that Sonja is the rudest, most exhausting house guest on the planet. (Well, next to Ramona, but since Ramona has her own Hamptons house, she doesn’t have to inflict herself on her friends.) Lu and Sonja hang out in Lu’s charming kitchen and dish about Tinsley and Carole.

2018-04-19 (9).png

Oblivious as usual, Sonja thinks she and Tinsley are fine even though she hasn’t heard from Tinsley, and Sonja and Luann are both annoyed by Carole’s terse responses to their congratulatory emails regarding the marathon. Luann got an actual “Thanks,” while Sonja only received a “Thx.”

Dorinda, Tinsley and Carole arrive at Ramona’s after spending 5 hours driving approximately 95 miles–why don’t these people just take the train?–and all of them head out for Bethenny’s birthday dinner. Despite being 12 minutes late, Bethenny is the first to arrive at the restaurant. This of course sends her into a fit of anxiety so she stamps her well-shod foot in frustration and–wait for it–makes one of her obligatory, tired “quips”–it’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to. Good one, Bethenny.

Everyone shows up pretty soon after Bethenny does, and this will be a typical Housewives dinner. The first problem is that Tinsley doesn’t want to sit next to Sonja. Bethenny points out that the table is the size of a postage stamp so pretty much everyone is going to be sitting next to Sonja. The next problem is that Sonja refers to Carole’s new ash-blonde hair color as gray. Nasty nice? Or just nasty?

While Sonja settles in at one end of the postage stamp, at the other, Dorinda and Carole are complaining about her to Luann. Luann is noncommittal, and before Sonja can overhear the conversation she goes in on Carole for the “Thx.” Carole is not having it and basically tells Sonja to zip it–something more people should tell Sonja more often. But Sonja isn’t the only one who feels offended by Carole’s lack of communication. Bethenny texted her throughout marathon day and claims to never have received a response. This prompts Carole to pull out her phone to prove that Carole did indeed respond to Bethenny’s texts, which prompts Bethenny to pull out her phone to prove that she didn’t. This petty exchange goes back and forth, with Bethenny calling Carole defensive and Carole claiming she’s just “correcting” Bethenny (which amazingly doesn’t send Bethenny into apoplexy).

This fight is not about whether Carole responded to Bethenny’s texts about the marathon; it is an excuse to release the tension that has arisen between these two because their friendship is not what it used to be. Bethenny feels replaced by Carole’s new BFF Tinsley, and Carole has a new BFF because she was tired of being Bethenny’s meek little yes-man.

Ramona is just happy that Carole has found her voice and is using it to stand up to Bethenny. Usually Ramona is the only one with the balls to contradict her, and she’s always ending up in “the hot water” for doing so. Ramona doesn’t end up in “the hot water” for contradicting Bethenny, she ends up in the hot water for saying things like Bethenny slept her way to the top, has no friends and will inevitably screw up every relationship in her life. That’s not really contradicting someone; that’s going for the jugular. Bethenny is no stranger to such tactics, so I don’t feel bad for her when Ramona does this, but…semantics.

Next we move on to Luann and Tom. Lu tells Bethenny she wishes she would have listened to her, but she was blinded by love and refused to see what was right in front of her face. Bethenny is not satisfied with this meager mea culpa and needs Luann to tell her she was right, which Luann does. “You were fucking right,” she says–not once but twice, and all is well with Bethenny and Lu.

2018-04-19 (15).png

Luann tells the table she is tired of talking about Tom and feels she doesn’t need to, since the whole tawdry business was splashed all over the tabloids. She just wants to move on. Sonja chimes in that Luann doesn’t live in the past–which she doesn’t, and I applaud her for it–but Ramona wants Lu to know that her friends want to talk about it with her so they can support her through it. It’s a kind, articulate, un-Ramona-like thing to say, and I’m proud of her for saying it. When Tinsley adds that she wasn’t trying to be mean when she lambasted Lu over her marriage at their lunch, Lu tells her she was kind of mean, then, having made her point, masterfully turns the conversation around to the Tinsley/Scott situation. Tinsley would have gladly packed up and moved to Chicago if Scott had asked, but he didn’t ask.

Despite all the conflict at the table, the dinner ends well with Luann rasping a Marilyn Monroe-ish rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Bethenny, and all the ladies dancing around the restaurant. Can I just point out that this scene depicts every restaurant worker’s nightmare? The place has completely emptied out except for this one VIP table that lingers and lingers, oblivious to the fact that most of these people just want to get the fuck out of there and go home, or to the club, or wherever else. I hope they tipped well enough to justify keeping the restaurant open and making the staff stand around and twiddle their thumbs until they deigned to leave.

2018-04-19 (17)

It’s the next morning and the titular brunch is up next. Before that, I have to point out a pet peeve. Carole is talking about how she doesn’t bother to lock doors while Tinsley does, and says, “that’s the difference between Tinsley and I.” Everyone makes this mistake, but Carole is a writer and should know better. In this context, it’s “Tinsley and me.”

There are two brunches going on simultaneously. In Bridgehampton, Brunch 1 consists of Carole, Tinsley and Bethenny. Bethenny is irritated on arrival as Carole and Tinsley are too engrossed in their conversation about Tinsely’s frozen eggs to care that Bethenny is going to use the restroom.

In Sag Harbor, Brunch 2 begins with Sonja shuffling downstairs in a caftan wearing Luann’s slippers. She is happy she’s not at Dorinda’s because here, she can go “shopping” in her hostess’ closet without repercussions. Sonja is so rude. I cannot wait for the Dorinda smackdown. Speaking of Dorinda, when she and Ramona arrive everyone starts rehashing last night’s dinner until Sonja has to start babbling about herself. She can eat and drink anything she wants and remain thin; she’s only gained weight because of the antidepressants she’s on. She insists she’s not depressed but rather riddled with anxiety because of all the stresses in her life. Blah, blah, blah.

Dorinda is over it. She is sick of Sonja thinking she’s the only one who’s experienced hardships in life–she’s not the only mother whose kid has gone to boarding school and is worried about what college she’ll get into, she’s not the only person who’s been divorced, and she’s not the only person who’s had financial problems. As usual, Dorinda is right. Look out Sonja, because the Dornado is gathering righteous steam.

The ladies at Brunch 1 are also rehashing the previous night, and Tinsley explains why she’s mad at Sonja. She thinks that Sonja saying she moved to New York to find a rich man to take care of her is tantamount to calling her an escort. Bethenny thinks that since Tinsley’s claim to fame is being a socialite, becoming a kept woman is the next logical step and that there’s no difference between a kept woman and a trust fund baby. Um, there is. Kept women have to work for their money. The three of them leave the restaurant to go tour Bethenny’s new house, but we’re going to have to wait until next week for the real estate porn, because over in Sag Harbor, Dorinda is about to go off.

2018-04-19 (20)

Sonja makes some crack about Ramona using guys then dumping them–most recently her contractor, Mario–which upsets Ramona because it’s not true. Dorinda tells Sonja this is where she gets herself into trouble and she needs to stop making sweeping generalizations about people about whom she knows nothing. Ramona tries to make peace by saying they should make a pact to be more thoughtful about how they talk about each other, and I have to say that this has been a good episode for Ramona. Who is this rational, mature woman?

2018-04-19 (21)

Sonja is still sputtering that what she’s saying about Ramona and her discarded men is true when Luann tries to divert her by saying Sonja’s been through a lot. That is all it takes for Dorinda. She is sick of people making excuses for Sonja. Sonja is not the only person who has been through a lot and everyone is tired of hearing about how bad Sonja has had it. Sonja is still whining about her divorce when the marriage ended 12 or 15 years ago and it is beyond time to move on. Dorinda BURIED her husband and she’s managed to move on. Sonja says she’s sick of hearing about Richard all the time, which is a terribly insensitive thing to say for someone who was just blathering about how sensitive she is to everyone around her.

2018-04-19-23.png

Terribly insensitive and really stupid, because Dorinda rises out her seat to point in Sonja’s face and drive home the fact that Sonja’s husband LEFT her and Dorinda’s husband DIED. She tells Sonja not to compare her “fucking marriage,” which ended because Sonja was “fucking around” in the South of France, to Richard’s death. YES, Dorinda! Let’s hear the dirt about the real reasons why Mr. Morgan left Sonja!

Dorinda takes things to Defcon 4, but she is absolutely right most of the time. Sonja is really insufferable and it’s time people called her on her shit. When she was a drunken mess, her behavior could be attributed to alcohol; now that she doesn’t drink, it’s become obvious she’s a self-centered weakling who has no idea what it means to be a grown woman or a friend. “Nasty nice,” indeed.

Dorinda’s not done yet–the tirade continues next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RHOC Ep. 18 Recap: The Real Vikings of Orange County

You know it’s going to be a tiresome episode when the first shot is of a bedraggled Peggy walking down the hall. Anything that has to do with Peggy is at best boring and at worst infuriating. Or being that this is a reality show, maybe it’s the other way around.

After hiding in her room all day, Peggy has decided to come to Lydia’s room to talk. She is upset over last night, because while Peggy can be rude AF to anyone and everyone, she is hypersensitive to any perceived slight. This time she’s upset because Kelly made an “insensitive” comment about her father. She did not. When Peggy ridiculously said she was going to have her husband call Kelly’s husband to resolve their conflicts, Kelly retorted that she was going to have her dad call Peggy’s dad. Peggy of course thinks Kelly meant it as a cruel reminder that Peggy’s father is dead, but Kelly’s response was a perfectly suitable playground rebuttal to Peggy’s initial juvenile threat. Kelly might as well have said, “I know you are but what am I?” Peggy is utterly unable to grasp contextual situations. Her jokes don’t land, her conversation is awkward and her interpretations are off-base. Is this season almost over so I never have to see or hear about Peggy Sulahian again?

2017-11-08 (34)

Lydia has planned a final Viking-themed dinner for their last night in Iceland and instead of joining the other women on the bus to the restaurant, she is stuck at the hotel ministering to Peggy’s misconceptions about the previous night. How tedious. In addition to whining about Kelly, Peggy is upset that she heard Meghan’s baby crying in her room while Meghan was next door partying with the other housewives. First of all, it’s none of Peggy’s business. Second, Meghan brought a nanny with her so she could hang out and party with the other housewives, and third, it’s not a crime to let a baby cry. Peggy whips out what she thinks is some kind of vindicating evidence in the form of a pointless video she took with her phone. It contains the sounds of drunken laughter and not much else.

2017-11-08 (31)

Lydia doesn’t understand Peggy’s point of view, but decides she’ll forgo the dinner and stay at the hotel with her. That Lydia–what a saint.

Meanwhile, everyone else arrives at a rustic dining hall where a chorus of woolly sweater-clad men waits to serenade them with traditional Icelandic music. Despite Tamra’s frantic admonitions to not eat the potatoes (God forbid!), the women dig into their lamb shanks and manage to behave with a modicum of decorum. Except for when they all scream “Skol!” at the top of their lungs. The very best thing about this episode so far is when the master of ceremonies–and everyone else–completely ignores Vicki when she asks, at the top of her lungs, whether they’re going to whoop it up. Then, realizing no one is going respond to her tired “catch phrase,” she tries to save face by doing a clownish vaudeville-esque double-take. If we’re going to stoop to vaudeville mugging, let’s go all the way and drag Vicki Gunvalson off the stage once and for all with with a giant hook. It’s beyond time.

2017-11-08 (36)

Shannon primly insists that “it’s fine” Tamra and Vicki are getting along when she really wants to blow a gasket. Tamra urges Vicki to apologize to Shannon for what she said about David beating her and Vicki does, but in typical Vicki fashion, the apology means nothing because she is only offering it to appease Tamra. Shannon gets that there is zero sincerity or sentiment behind the apology because Vicki always qualifies and/or minimizes her wrongdoings. Vicki says she’ll “eat some humble pie” and in her mind, that is truly all she is doing. She thinks Shannon’s need for an apology is completely unreasonable since she doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong, but she’ll suck it up and be the martyr because all she wants out of life is peace and tranquility. God, go away Vicki.

Tamra and Vicki rehash their issues AGAIN and I’m so disinterested I can’t type another word about it.

 

Peggy has decided to go to dinner so Lydia, who organized the whole thing, doesn’t have to miss it. She arrives in a floor-length red ball gown that is totally inappropriate for the occasion and immediately starts in on Kelly. It is a crying shame that Kelly has been attending anger management classes, because if anyone deserves a full-on Kelly Dodd assault, it’s Peggy.

2017-11-08 (38).png

There are few things on this earth more torturous than listening to Peggy Sulahian trying to articulate her position on anything. It’s like she’s an actor who’s been given a script but keeps saying her lines at the wrong time so they don’t jibe with anything that’s going on around her. She pulls out her video of nothing and attacks Meghan over the baby’s crying, which makes Meghan cry. Naturally everyone leaps to Meghan’s defense over the unwarranted indictment of her motherhood and goes after Peggy. Vicki feels sorry for Peggy because the other women are ganging up on her, but Peggy brought it on herself. She is abrasive and rude and it’s high time she got called on it.

2017-11-08 (44)

Peggy’s great friend Vicki may feel bad for her, but since Vicki is determined to weasel out of any confrontation by repeating, ad nauseum, that it’s not her fight, she slinks away from the table and cowers in the bus. Vicki is above all this petty bickering, don’t ya know–all she wants is to promote peace and love. And her insurance business.

Back inside, Shannon is comforting a teary Meghan and telling Peggy she’s done talking to her. Stupid, interfering Lydia thinks Shannon is going off the rails again when Shannon is just rightfully fed up with Peggy. Peggy exacerbates the situation by making a dig about David not being “loyal” to Shannon because he lied to her about his and Diko’s cancer conversation–GOD, JUST LET IT GO ALREADY! Shannon is on the verge of going ballistic but Tamra interjects to call Diko is a little bitch, and Kelly stands up and delivers the long-awaited line, “if you’re going to throw BOMBS, I’m going to throw NUKES!” Welcome back, Kelly Dodd! And with that, Peggy is out. Thank God.

2017-11-08 (46)

Somewhere within this mess Peggy goes over to Meghan and attempts to apologize to her (I think) and Meghan is kinder than she needs to be. She says she understands that whatever Peggy was trying to convey about the baby was lost in translation, and that Peggy is odd. but she still can’t forget that Peggy brought it up and is hurt by it. Peggy doesn’t deserve Meghan’s understanding after calling her a giraffe while insinuating she’s a neglectful mother. Fuck you, Peggy.

Peggy joins Vicki in the bus, vowing to take her own car back to the hotel and her own “jet” back to Orange County. She is upset that Vicki abandoned her and dismisses Vicki’s yammering about being “a businesswoman, a mother, a grandmother” with a bored, “yeah, we know.” Indeed we do, Peggy, and this is the first and probably last time I’ve been on board with anything you’ve said.

The next morning, a hungover Kelly calls Vicki to report that Peggy has “bounced.” Back in the OC, Meghan and Jim are putting together invitations for the candle launch party, Lydia’s mother is sprinkling mashed potatoes with fairy dust, and Vicki is giving Briana the lowdown on the Iceland trip. Briana calls her mother out on every single one of her machinations, and it’s a joy to behold.

 

Tamra accompanies Shannon to the doctor, who tells Shannon her hormone levels are low. Shannon took herself off progesterone and estrogen, which may account for her weight gain, mood swings and general emotional instability. The doctor advises her she needs to start taking them again, along with topical applications of testosterone “down there,” which will help remedy a low libido. Shannon protests that she doesn’t have a low libido, David just isn’t interested. Tamra jokes that of all the things Shannon will be putting “down there,” her husband won’t be one of them. She says the remedy for that is divorce. Astonishingly Shannon takes these statements with a sense of humor, cracking up alongside Tamra. There’s hope for Shannon yet.

 

Next Vicki and Peggy meet to discuss Vicki’s cowardly behavior at the Viking dinner. Peggy is still upset that Vicki didn’t have her back and Vicki offers one of her typical self-serving, Mad Hatter explanations for why she was right to not get involved. It’s the exact same argument she gave Kelly last year, and it’s just as disingenuous now as it was then.

2017-11-08 (50)

Shannon and David share a painful exchange that forces Shannon to finally admit that David is totally checked out of the marriage. She just wants to know where she stands because the limbo they’re living in now is torture for her. Thank God these two finally separated.

2017-11-08 (53)

Next week: The season finale! No more Peggy Sulahian after next week and the reunions, because I guarantee that Peggy is a one-and-done. Yahoo!

 

RHOC Ep. 17 Recap: Vicki Finally Gets Her Casserole

Is this episode really going to be all about Vicki’s phony health scare? This pathetic attention whore will stoop to anything.

Peggy is hovering over Vicki, barking instructions at the physician who is trying to ascertain the problem. Apparently the Armenian way is to bulldoze your way through a situation you know nothing about in an effort to make yourself relevant. Shut up, Peggy. When the doctor asks Vicki if she has a heart condition, she whimpers that she’s under “cardiology care” but doesn’t know what for. Let’s get this straight–Vicki is not under “cardiology care;” she visited a cardiologist to undergo a series of tests, then milked the results that she had a heart murmur for sympathy. Making people feel sorry for her is  the ONLY reason she had those tests, and the only reason for the nonsense viewers are currently being subjected to.

Tamra, no slouch in the fame-whoring department, realizes she’s missing a golden opportunity for some camera time and brushes past the medical team to take center stage on Vicki’s bedside. Dr. Peggy thinks there is too much commotion and tells the other housewives to leave the room, which prompts Kelly to snap her fingers in Peggy’s face and tell her to let the medics do their job. Brava Kelly–exactly.

After hotelier Fridrik lays down the law and reports that the medical team will leave if the women don’t stop congregating around Vicki, Lydia leads a group prayer. Why do the producers feel it’s necessary to broadcast every one of Lydia’s lame prayers? And why is Lydia always the one saying the prayers? Did the false messiah who is getting rich off the stooges who attend her megachurch imbue her with some direct line to God? Probably, in order to keep the donations flowing, and of course Lydia believed it because for all her blather about sparkles and rainbows, Lydia is arrogant.

Kelly continues to diagnose Vicki as having an anxiety attack, and has had enough when Peggy shushes her yet again. Nobody puts Kelly Dodd in a corner! Kelly’s diagnosis is probably pretty accurate. She is no stranger to drinking binges and understands–like fellow whoop-it-upper Vicki should–that anxiety is a by-product of alcohol withdrawal.

Tamra reports that Vicki is being taken to the hospital, then snickers when Vicki emerges from the room in a wheelchair with a robe over her head. Even as she calls out the ridiculousness of Vicki’s drama queen antics, Tamra must feel some grudging respect for the OG’s ability to hijack an entire episode. Right now Tamra is wondering who Vicki’s shame-ectomy (tm Stassi) doctor is, because he or she does excellent work.

As Vicki is whisked away by ambulance, the rest of the ladies go to dinner because, as Meghan reminds them, they have to take care of themselves, too. Meghan assuages any guilt Kelly might feel over the guilt-trip Lydia just laid on her for not immediately going to the hospital by admonishing her that she needs to eat. Meghan’s priorities are in the right place. So are Shannon’s, as her first question upon sitting down to the dinner table is what kind of vodka is available. As much as Tamra makes snide comments about Shannon’s drinking, she is making the right choice for her weight loss journey by opting for vodka over wine or beer. Everyone knows vodka has no carbs, which is why it goes so well with Adderall.

Peggy calls Diko for advice on whether to go to the hospital to be with Vicki. Diko tells her to go, because that’s what she told him to tell her a couple of minutes ago when she called him before the cameras were there.

It’s funny how Vicki felt the need to cover her face with a robe when she was leaving her hotel, which is situated exactly in the middle of nowhere, but doesn’t as she being wheeled into a hospital in the middle of somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, a paparazzi or two will be hanging out by the ER.

Back at dinner, Shannon places a special food order, as I’m sure she does every time she goes out to eat. High maintenance, thy name is Shannon. A debate ensues about who is going to visit Vicki and when they should do it. Kelly insists they all take shifts while Meghan flatly declares that she’s not going. The ghost of last year’s dune buggy accident hospital-gate arises at her statement, but before it can be fully resurrected, a sulky and self-righteous Peggy approaches the table. She is going to the hospital RIGHT NOW because that is what she told Diko to tell her to do. Kelly wants to go, too, and is annoyed that Peggy won’t wait until she finishes her dinner. I want Peggy to keep digging at Kelly because I am desperate to see an old-school Kelly Dodd-style takedown of this self-important twit.

kelly done

Upon learning that Vicki will be returning to the hotel once Peggy gets to the hospital, Meghan hilariously orders a casserole for her. Remember how Vicki snuffled her way through one of the reunions, justifying her odious behavior by saying she was just trying to get someone to show their concern over her fabricated predicament by gifting her with a casserole.

Everyone goes to Shannon’s room for cocktails–even recent heart patient Vicki–where she and Tamra have the long-awaited tete-a-tete. Tamra once again tries to impress upon Vicki how hurtful it was for her to spread the rumor about Eddie being gay. Vicki thinks she did nothing wrong, because, after all, Tamra was spreading rumors about Brooks. This is a typical Vicki rationalization. Tamra wasn’t spreading “rumors” about Brooks. She told Vicki and everyone else that she thought he was a bad guy because he WAS a bad guy. She was trying to be a good friend to Vicki by warning her not to be taken in by him. Vicki STILL sees that as some sort of betrayal, even though Tamra turned out to be right, and spread the Eddie rumor in retaliation. Vicki’s position is indefensible, and the only person who sees it is Shannon, who is on the verge of apoplexy during Tamra and Vicki’s conversation, repeatedly sputtering that Vicki is a “fucking liar.” Which she is.

Vicki has the audacity to be upset because she feels Tamra chose Eddie over her. Um, Eddie is Tamra’s HUSBAND. This attitude is symptomatic of Vicki’s pathological need to be the center of the universe. Her delusion is on display when she tells Shannon that she doesn’t have a vindictive bone in her body. Please. Every bone in Vicki’s body is comprised of a mixture of vindictiveness, desperation and tears. Even Briana recognizes that Vicki has no compunction about hitting someone below the belt when she feels wronged by that person, and isn’t above making something up to achieve it. That, my friends, is the definition of vindictive.

[Ugh–Bethenny Frankel is on WWHL. When will Andy learn that no one–but NO ONE–finds her amusing, charming or entertaining?]

The next morning, everyone is hungover. Kelly has had it with Peggy’s constant shushing and lecturing, and wonders why she can’t understand anything Kelly says. Just like Kelly’s daughter Jolie, Peggy is constantly asking her to explain what she means. Thank goodness someone in this cast is picking up on this shtick and calling Peggy out for it.

Lydia explains, via a hand puppet show, that Shannon is the reason for Tamra and Vicki’s continued rift. Lydia needs to STFU as much as Peggy does. Shannon–tightly wired as she may be–is the only one who sees Vicki for what she is and refuses to indulge her. She deserves respect for not caving in to Vicki’s machinations and histrionics. So again, STFU Lydia. Shannon is not being ridiculous–you are.

Peggy pouts in her room and refuses to respond when the women knock on her door. Materialistic Peggy must really be down in the dumps if she’s skipping a shopping trip! Why would they want Peggy to accompany them anyway? She has no sense of humor, doesn’t understand their language, and when she’s not being a wet blanket, is downright rude. Peggy sucks.

NEXT WEEK: The ugly Americans continue to drink and fight their way through Iceland. I feel like this has been the description of the upcoming episode for three weeks in a row.

 

RHOC Ep. 15 Recap: #FireVicki

This week I noticed the “fire Vicki” hashtag all over Twitter and I wholeheartedly subscribe to it. This week’s episode, more than any other, demonstrated how superfluous the odious Vicki Gunvalson has become to the show, and she simply must go.

I could not care less about the status of her heart–physically or otherwise–or how her lifelong histrionics may have adversely affected it. The scene with her cardiologist was yet another tedious example of just how little she brings to RHOC. #FireVicki

Peggy and Diko going through their kids’ baby clothes for the sole purpose of letting us know that their kids wore Dior baby clothes. Just ugh.

Tamra and Shannon are on the phone, talking about the Diko-David dustup. Tamra thinks Shannon has a hard time letting things go, and a truer statement has never come out of Tamra’s mouth. Shannon becomes irritated when Tamra counsels her to stop giving the situation life, saying she’s giving it life because Tamra keeps talking about it. This may be an insight into Tamra’s behind the scenes shit-stirring. WE haven’t seen Tamra talk about it, but because she knows that doing so will inflame fragile Shannon and fuel the conflict between her and Peggy, she probably brings it up nonstop when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Meghan is having a dinner party so the other ladies can benefit from her friend “Mystic Michaela’s” insights. Mystic Michaela reads auras, so she’ll probably have a field day with this crowd. Meghan displays her own insight when she muses that some people are intimidated by psychics because they don’t want to acknowledge the things they’re hiding. So it comes as no surprise that Peggy doesn’t like psychics. Or that Vicki declined Meghan’s invitation because, according to Meghan, she was “very scared” of the psychic.

Lydia arrives as everyone is sitting down to dinner, and is disappointed that Vicki and Kelly aren’t there because she was hoping to invite all the ladies on a trip to Iceland.
The premise for this trip is that Lydia is going there to do a piece for her magazine, which is complete and utter bullshit. Lydia’s magazine is a vanity project for her and her husband, and the idea that she has legitimate business in Iceland is nothing but a transparent plot device. If she did have legitimate business there, she would NEVER invite this group of crude, feuding rubes to accompany her.

They call Vicki and Kelly, and everyone agrees to the trip, because they are contractually obligated to do so. Peggy doesn’t even know where Iceland is. Is she an Armenian nesting doll that has never seen the light of day? How else could she be such an unmitigated ignoramus? She has about as much personality as an inanimate object, so I guess it’s possible.

When Meghan asks Peggy if she’s in for the Iceland trip, Peggy responds by attacking Shannon, apropos of nothing, about David’s questioning of Diko. Talk about someone who can’t let anything go! Peggy is giving Shannon a run for her money. Shannon explains that David asked whether Peggy had cancer because he was concerned after Diko told him his wife just had a double mastectomy. Again, YOU CANNOT BE OFFENDED WHEN PEOPLE ASK IF YOU HAD CANCER AFTER YOU TELL THEM YOU (OR YOUR WIFE) JUST HAD A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. Fucking DUH. When you engage in attention-seeking behavior, you can’t be mad when your behavior receives attention. And telling someone during a casual cocktail party conversation that your wife had a double mastectomy is attention-seeking behavior. God, I hate these two.

Peggy listens to Shannon defend David, but instead of engaging in discourse that may resolve the situation, dismissively asks, “Are you done?” Then she delivers the scripted line that is sure to make Shannon go off the rails: “Do you trust your husband? Has he ever lied to you about anything before?” Really? This is such an obvious ploy on the producers’ part. Are we to believe that because Mystic Michaela said Peggy was intuitive, Peggy has intuited Shannon’s uncertainty about her marriage? We’re not that stupid, and neither is Shannon.

For not understanding English, Peggy is showing herself to be a master of deflection. She asks Shannon an incendiary question–WAY worse than anything David asked Diko–and when Shannon yells that of course she trusts her husband, Peggy acts like it was an innocuous inquiry that was not intended to set Shannon off. Lydia backs Peggy and launches her own attack on Shannon. Lydia needs to STFU and go back to her pumpkin patch because she is always wrong. She wants Shannon to give Peggy a chance to explain herself, but as Meghan points out, Peggy is woefully inarticulate and her semantic meanderings are going nowhere.

Peggy is awful. She is phony, she has the personality of a concrete stoop, she’s rude, she is unable to express a single substantive thought, and her only purpose on this show is to torture the already-tortured Shannon. I am going to take Tamra’s advice and not give her any more life. #FirePeggy

shannon 15

After Peggy and Lydia leave, Tamra guns for Shannon. Shannon may be volatile, but she has every right to feel victimized and confused by Peggy and Lydia’s treatment of her. Tamra has no storyline so she is fomenting a conflict that has nothing to do with her and throwing her good friend Shannon under the bus while she’s at it. She is yelling at Shannon to stop acting like an asshole and getting riled up over nothing when Meghan interjects with a much-needed reality check. If they wake up her sleeping baby, their ridiculous drama will pale in comparison to Meghan’s wrath. Meghan is such a breath of fresh air. What is she even doing on this show? She has absolutely nothing in common with these toxic harpies. When they finally leave, Meghan and Mystic Michaela share a laugh over how “great” Meghan’s friends are.

The next day, Shannon comes over to Tamra’s house with a mea culpa and a serious ephiphany. She has finally come to grips with what everyone already knows–that her emotional fragility and consequent downward spiral have been caused by her disintegrating marriage. Like too many women, Shannon is so defined by her relationship that she would rather stay in a miserable marriage than face being alone. She acknowledges that now that she and David are once again in a bad place, she isn’t over his affair, and her insecurities are manifesting themselves in self-destructive behavior. Shannon finally realizes that her happiness and self-esteem cannot be entirely dependent on the state of her relationship, and I am SO PROUD of her. Hopefully with this newfound insight, she can turn things around for herself. Good for you, Shannon!

The episode ends with the obligatory packing scenes, featuring too much of the lame and boring Sulahian family. And with that, the ladies are off. America apologizes in advance, Iceland.

Next week: The ugly Americans embarrass themselves (and us) in yet another country with their cat-fighting, callowness, and lack of respect for the local culture.

 

 

 

 

RHOC Ep. 14 Recap: Another Big Letdown

It’s finally the big showdown between Vicki and Tamra, and not surprisingly, it’s another big letdown. It’s just more of the same–Vicki whimpering for Tamra to stop hurting her and Tamra reminding Vicki that she spread rumors about Eddie being gay. Tamra wonders why Vicki thinks she would marry a gay man, and Vicki posits that maybe Eddie used Tamra to get the empty gym that sits in the middle of a nondescript industrial park in Random Suburb, USA.

Tamra’s incredulity that Vicki would suggest such a thing leads to an epiphany: Vicki does not deserve her friendship. With that, Tamra walks out, leaving Vicki to fiddle with her phone and pretend she has something important to do. Please let that be the end of this non-storyline.

Ugh. Peggy and Diko are meeting for dinner to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary and congratulate themselves for doing so well in life. Things were so different 22 years ago! They were young and just starting out in life–look how far they’ve come! They reminisce about their humble beginnings–like their first Valentine’s Day together when Diko bought Peggy a $200,000-plus Bentley. How fucking obnoxious. How tasteless. How nouveau riche. Diko can’t just say he bought Peggy a Bentley (was that Bentley like the one Slade “bought” for Gretchen–you know, the one he leased and that had to be returned to the dealership the next day because they couldn’t afford the payments?), he has to let us know that it cost more than the house they lived in at the time. And then he has to tell us how much that house was worth, in case we didn’t know that Bentleys are really, really, expensive cars. These two are insufferable. Ordering a bottle of Jordan Cabernet during this staged and vulgar scene is the only thing they’ve ever done right in their entire repugnant lives.

Kelly’s dad is in town, and watching her divorced parents argue makes Kelly worry that she and Michael are creating a similarly tense environment for their daughter, Jolie. I wonder if the editors recut the post-Dodd-divorce-announcement episodes to make the most out of this storyline. God knows this show needs one. After the tediousness of Peggy and Diko shoving how rich they’ve always pretended to be down our throats, it’s refreshing to see Kelly unabashedly gush about her middle-class upbringing. She’s proud that her dad came to all her volleyball and cheerleading events, and paid for her Catholic school and Arizona State tuition. Kelly may have her problems, but she is endearing and relatable when she shares memories like this. Take notes, Peggy and Diko: your fixation on dropping names and prices is neither endearing nor relatable. Plus it’s 100% phony. Kelly Dodd doesn’t have a phony bone in her body, which is why she’s back for (and kind of winning) a second season and Peggy will be a one-and-done.

Now that Lydia’s grandfather has died and left her parents Paris Hilton-level riches, she and her mother are conspicuously consuming everything in sight. The only point of this scene is to allow Lydia to brag about how wealthy her family is. Again, not endearing and not relatable.

Everyone is on their way to Peggy and Diko’s Armenian-themed anniversary party. Did you know Peggy is Armenian? She thinks no one can resist her son Koko (they can) so she bribes him to get “Aunt” Vicki–really?–to kiss one of his cheeks while Tamra kisses the other. Her initial offer of $100 is not enough for Koko, so in true Salahian style, he shakes his mother down for $1,000. Peggy is either the last person to know about the final breakdown of Tamra and Vicki’s relationship, or the sole purpose of this scene is for Peggy to demonstrate that she and Diko have so much disposable income they can casually throw a ten-year-old a thousand dollars on a lark. Oh, right. It’s the latter.

Aside from this bit of nonsense, at least we don’t have to endure another party where everyone is speculating about Vicki and Tamra or trying to get them together. We do have to endure more Peggy and Diko, however, and I don’t know which is worse. Yes I do–it’s Peggy and Diko, hands down.

Is Vicki really whining about her friendship troubles and seeking validation from ten-year-old Koko? Yes. Yes, she is and all I can do is shake my head. The woman has no shame, no boundaries, and no self-respect.

Except for the hookahs and belly dancer, this party is pretty much like every other OC party. Of course Diko has to tell everyone that last year he bought two Lamborghinis to commemorate his and Peggy’s anniversary, and this year he’s purchased matching Audemars Piguet (whatever that is) watches. He can’t just say he bought a couple of cars or simply present Peggy with the watch–he has to drop names so everyone will be sure to know how much money he spent. Vulgar, thy name is Diko. He then goes one step further by gifting Peggy with a diamond necklace–and not just any old diamond necklace–a TWENTY-TWO CARAT diamond necklace. For 22 years of marriage, get it? Meghan is annoyed with how ostentatious Peggy and Diko are, but jealous over the necklace. Don’t worry Meghan–it’s just on loan for the evening and will be returned to the jeweler after it has served its only purpose, which is to impress all the party guests.

The party ends with Diko taking Shannon aside to express his discomfort over David’s questioning him about Peggy’s cancer. Again, when you say, “Hi, I’m Diko. My wife just had a double mastectomy” the minute you meet someone, you have no room to be offended when they ask about her health. Shannon of course overreacts, and everyone leaves.

A few other minor things probably happened during this episode, but I’m so bored with this show at this point that I just don’t care. Sorry.

 

RHOC Episode 13 Recap: Dull and Duller

Maybe it’s the grueling 12-hour day I worked on Monday, but I found this week’s episode of RHOC exhausting. It was just more of the same ersatz drama we’ve seen all season long. Did Peggy have cancer or was her double mastectomy a sick ploy for attention? Will Tamra and Vicki make up? Will David finally walk away from his and Shannon’s loveless marriage or will Shannon grow a backbone and demand some respect? We already know that Kelly filed for divorce, so any speculation about the Dodd marriage is moot, and does anyone care about Doug’s vasectomy? Here’s the answer key to the above quiz: no one cares, no one cares, no one cares and no. Why is this show still on the air?

There were only a few noteworthy–and by noteworthy I mean snarkworthy–moments this episode. I can’t even recap the whole thing because I refuse to spend time discussing the done-to-death, season after season issue of whether Vicki and Tamra will make up. They’re both seasoned reality pros and will act in whatever ways they think will give them more screen time. It’s fake, it’s tired and it’s boring.

Diko and Peggy stage a scene about whether he should wear his Louboutin boat shoes to Lydia and Doug’s “Balls Voyage” yacht party. The only point is to let everyone know that Diko has Louboutins. Yes, we get it. Peggy and Diko spend money on flashy items to prove how rich they’re pretending to be. Yawn.

Kelly and Vicki get colonics. When Kelly asks the technicians to measure their respective outputs because she’s sure Vicki is more “full of shit” than she is, I can only imagine how many times these poor workers have heard various iterations of the same joke. Vicki claims she doesn’t “poo” because she thinks it’s gross. Leave it to Vicki to infantilize a normal bodily process to appear–I don’t even know–dainty? childlike? refined? Whatever it is, the attempt fails and she just ends up looking like her regressed, pathetically juvenile, normal self.

She compounds this by whimpering about how she’ll die of a broken heart, mewling over how she just wants to be loved and receive casseroles–instead of skepticism–when she exaggerates her ailments. (She really had Influenza B, people! Look–she has the medical records to prove it!) Vicki keeps trying to revive old catchphrases and refer to contentious storylines from seasons past to stay relevant on a show that has itself become utterly irrelevant. Feeble attempts from a contemptible woman for a woefully inadequate purpose. “Feeble,” “contemptible,” and “inadequate” are all synonyms for “pathetic,” a word that cannot be overused in describing Vicki Gunvalson.

It’s Easter, and everyone is celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. The only people who appear to be enjoying the holiday are Jim and Meghan, who are using baby Aspen’s footprints to make bunny pictures. Vicki is lamenting the state of her and Tamra’s friendship, as usual. Peggy is expressing her disgust that David had the nerve to question Diko about whether or not Peggy had/has cancer. Really Peggy? It cannot be stated enough that Peggy and Diko lead EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL CONVERSATION with Peggy’s double mastectomy. She has absolutely no cause to be outraged–or even surprised–that people would inquire further about the reason behind her decision. Peggy is trying to make this a storyline, but alas, her fake temper tantrums are as boring and transparent as her fake inability to understand simple English.

At the Beador house, Shannon is confiding in her mother about the deplorable state of her marriage. Shannon’s mother gives her some good advice in that Shannon should look within herself for something to make her happy and start pursuing whatever that is. Shannon gives us some valuable–and the first honest–insight into her weight gain. As long as she is fat, she can justify why David is pulling away from her. If she can blame his increasing emotional distance from her on the fact that she’s “let herself go,” she doesn’t have to examine the real reason her marriage is failing, which is that David has no respect for her, overweight or not, and has completely checked out of their relationship. Whatever pressure he’s putting on himself to stay in this miserable union is manifesting itself in cruel digs toward his wife, which are on display throughout most of their scenes together.

Over Easter dinner, David expresses disgust over Shannon’s privileged upbringing, telling her she needs to take the silver spoon out of her mouth in response to an innocuous story Shannon told about her youth. Shannon is flabbergasted, her mother is uncomfortable and the Beador children are squirming in their seats, wishing they were anywhere but in the middle of their parents’ marital strife.

Watching Shannon and David’s marriage unravel (again) is cringeworthy, but at least something on this show is interesting enough to elicit the rubbernecking response that reality tv exists to provoke. It is high time Bravo recognizes this fact and opts to deep-six The Real Housewives of Orange County in favor of a latter-day Scenes from a Marriage, starring Shannon and David BeadorThat, unlike RHOC, would be good tv. Are you listening, Bravo? Because you should be.

Next week: the ladies make bad jokes at a hookah joint (remember–the OC Housewives’ boorish nincompoop-ery is never more on display than when they are confronted with anything more exotic than the local strip mall), Diko interrogates Shannon, and Vicki and Tamra meet. Gee, I can’t wait. *eye roll*

RHOD Roundup: Grading the Housewives

I just reconnected cable and spent part of the weekend catching up on The Real Housewives of Dallas. The Dallas installment of the franchise was so bad last year I wasn’t going to purchase a la carte episodes in order to recap it, but now that it’s free again, why not? RHOD is better the second time around, and, eight episodes into the season, here is my take on the “characters.”

BRANDI: There is something coarse about Brandi, and that quality is pronounced this season by the addition of the ultra-prissy Kameron Westcott. This is both bad and good for Brandi. It’s good because she comes off looking a lot cooler and more down to earth in comparison; it’s bad because she doesn’t really seem to fit in with the newer cast members, who were apparently added to represent Dallas’ Highland Park society set. Last year’s poop talk was the lowest form of humor, and this season’s dildo gag was similarly tedious, off-putting and just not funny. I can’t imagine either of these things going over well in the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room, let alone a society gathering in Dallas proper.

I think Brandi’s role is to portray the girl from the wrong side of the tracks made good, but she hasn’t acquired the veneer of polish necessary to make her association with some of Dallas’ established society members believable. Her rawness is endearing and a good foil to Kameron’s passive-aggressive bitchiness, but she still seems like a fish out of water. Grade: B

KAMERON: Does anyone remember Kameron from the progressive dinner party featured on Top Chef: Texas? Her presence on two Bravo shows within a few years smacks of famewhore-ness, and her persona on the Real Housewives is repellent. I say persona because Kameron is clearly putting on some sort of act, which she has apparently been doing her whole life. She acts dumber-than-dumb, but purports to be smart, which is doubtful (pink dog food?). Obviously the ditzy blonde act has garnered her some success in life, but after a certain age it just becomes pathetic (see Vicki Gunvalson), and she has reached that age. Kameron is a sad reminder of how some women still feel they need to dumb themselves down to be attractive to men, and an even sadder reminder that in some circles, it still works. (If she is actually smart, which, again, is doubtful).

Kamerson also embodies every quality that gives women a bad name. I’m sure she ruled the Tri Delt or whatever house with an iron fist back in her day, passive-aggressively belittling and cowing her sorority sisters until they were filled with enough self doubt to mold themselves into whatever image Kameron felt appropriate. Kameron is phony, judgmental, guarded and a stealth bitch. Her carefully curated gestures, facial expressions and vocal intonations only highlight the fact that she is a small-minded, humorless snob. She cannot exactly be called two-faced, because she couches her barbs in syrupy back-handed compliments, as I’m sure she’s been taught to do by generations of women before her. She is a paragon of passive-aggressiveness, and it is extremely unbecoming.

I almost feel sorry for her because she appears to be so utterly unevolved, but her smug self-satisfaction with her antiquated tactics makes it impossible. Grade: F for personality, A- for drama potential.

D’ANDRA: D’Andra is the opposite of Kameron. She is a straight shooter, a sophisticated world traveler who retains her Texas roots, and wears her legacy graciously. She had a privileged upbringing but doesn’t shove it down our throats or bend over backwards to appear prim and proper. She has been candid about her struggles with her mother, business and stepson, and is unapologetic about who she is. She is confident enough to be friends with Leeanne, and strong enough to stand up to her. D’Andra may not be as enamored with sophomoric jokes as Brandi and Stephanie are, but she handles them with a sense of humor. Kameron should take notes.

D’Andra is an excellent addition to the cast. Her wealth offers a glimpse into the type of lifestyle the Real Housewives is supposed to showcase, yet she remains likable and relatable. #TeamD’Andra. Grade: A

LEEANNE: Poor Leeanne. Counseling has been beneficial to her, but she is still unable to control her vitriol and too quick to overshare the details of her tumultuous childhood. D’Andra appears to be a calming force in her life and gives Leeanne much-needed talking-tos, but does so with kindness motivated by a true desire to see Leeanne grow as a person. It’s to Leeanne’s credit that she is able to absorb this constructive criticism without flying off the handle, and I’m interested in seeing more of this kinder, gentler Leeanne. Well maybe not kinder and gentler, but less batshit crazy. She still creates plenty of drama, but her drama has not been as frightening this year. Grade: B+

STEPHANIE: Stephanie is kind of boring, but totally inoffensive. It’s cute to see her friendship with Brandi; even though I find their humor juvenile, they clearly enjoy their potty jokes and it’s nice to see women supporting and laughing with each other. I also like that Stephanie seems to be more assertive in her marriage. Even though her husband (Travis?) still dominates the relationship, at least he’s not treating her like the hired help this year. It was uncomfortable to watch them last season because their marriage seemed so lopsided; she was the pretty girl from modest means who landed a rich guy, but had to give up her voice in order to enjoy the luxurious lifestyle he provided. I could do without the life coach scenes, but I’m glad Stephanie is regaining her power. Grade: B

CARY: Cary confuses me. She seems way too intelligent to be friends with Brandi and Stephanie or to put up with her husband’s pathological neediness. She and D’Andra are a good match but I’m mystified by her friendship with Kameron. Cary’s bullshit detector should have allowed her to see through Kameron immediately, yet she tolerates her. That leads me to believe that the Kameron we see on the show is either 100% phony, or somehow too important to the Deubers’ business to alienate.

I want to like Cary for her sharp wit, intelligence and struggle to find balance between her work and home lives, but she has an arrogance that is slightly off-putting. There is a discord between the strength she displays and her willingness to abide her husband’s childish fits of pique. It seems that for a woman like Cary, a closet full of Birkins and designer clothes wouldn’t be worth submitting to such behavior. That’s why she confuses me–either we’re not seeing the whole picture, or Cary’s bravado is not entirely authentic. Grade: C+

To sum up, all of these women add something to the show (unlike the one from last year with the Keith Urban-esque husband), and RHOD is much better in its sophomore season. I’m interested to see what happens, and hope the pressure of reality tv causes Kameron’s carefully crafted facade to crack. I also hope the women learn to tone down their eye makeup, but it’s Dallas, so that may be going too far.

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.

 

RHOC Episode 10 Recap: Flight of Flashbacks

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.