Did last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County have a theme? I mean, a theme besides “ZOMG PLASTIC SURGERY AND FAKE TANNING” because that’s more or less what all the episodes are about, right?
I don’t think it did, but then again, I shouldn’t be looking for narrative structure in the Real Housewives franchise anyway, I suppose. What I did get out of last night’s episode was a stark reminder of how objectively awful this show is. I have a house guest for the weekend that flew in last night and was forced to watch with me, and he had no context for the show and had never seen it before.
Normally I watch my Thursday night guilty pleasures all by myself, sometimes with a pizza and some beer, but never with a buddy, because I don’t know anyone with the intestinal fortitude to withstand this crap. But he didn’t have a choice, and as things wore on and we saw Slade’s junk covered with only a sock, a teenager at a nose job consultation, and Vicki & Co. acting like the quintessential Ugly Americans in Italy, he asked me if I actually liked the show. All I could think of to say was, well, they give me a lot of material.
And then I’m pretty sure he judged me. Right there in my own apartment.
The first thing we saw was the tail end of last week’s Shootout at the Cuff Coral, which really just seemed like a bunch of reedited footage that we had already seen. We did get to see Jeana imply that Tamra was white trash (and then Gretchen out-and-out said it), but the Evil Blond Bobbsey Twins had already departed, so we didn’t get to see anyone’s reaction. Sad. The reaction show is what this show is all about.
But fret not, on to the next Party For No Reason! And this time it was a spray tan party at Gretchen’s house, which…were you guys aware that you could have a spray tan party? I certainly wasn’t. After seeing one in action, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else try it at home, because it seems to be utterly horrifying. You get drunk, get naked in front of your guests, and then some stranger paints you orange, and maybe all of your friends see your boyfriend’s wang. With a sock on it.
I hate to say it, though, but Slade and Gretchen actually seem kind of adorable together. Like, not in a way that makes me want to be their friend or anything, but in a way that makes it even more clear that Tamra’s dislike of Gretchen is really just thinly veiled jealousy. None of these women are actresses of any caliber, and it seemed like their affection for each other during something so simple as an afternoon party or a garage sale was too genuine to fake. So I guess that’s nice. Not particularly entertaining, but nice.
So for a dose of the opposite, we have to look no further than Vicki. Her daughter just graduated from nursing school, and as a graduation present, Vicki is taking her (and, for some reason, grandma) to Italy for a week and a half. Which is a really nice present! For them, at least. Not so much for the Italians.
Everyone in my family hates to travel, so I’ve never been in the country, but the brief minutes that we spent abroad with Vicki pretty succinctly explained why everyone in the world hates American tourists. First, Vicki had four suitcases all to herself for a 10 day trip of fairly benign sightseeing and shopping. Then she brought her terrible mother, who thought that everything in Italy was absolutely stupid and had no problem telling everyone about it. And they all complained about how small their hotel room was, meaning that they apparently missed the memo on, I don’t know, history? Europe? Bueller? Of course they were also upset that not everyone in Italy spoke perfect English and that being blond and American didn’t get them special treatment.
One question: if Vicki was out of the country, for the love of Pete, WHO LET HER BACK IN?!?!?! We were so close to a Vicki-free country. Way to drop the ball, whoever is in charge of that.
While Vicki was in Italy doing things that make everyone that cares about America’s image abroad sad, Tamra was at home, doing things that made only herself sad. Namely, putting her house on the market and having dinner with new housewife Alexis and her husband, who are incredibly smug and annoying about their perfect relationship.
First, the house – for a moment, I actually had some sympathy for Tamra. She’s upset about the house (and about the fact that some kind of shady tequila business is her awful husband’s only income), and that’s pretty relatable, I think. And also, she’s an ugly crier, and, honey, me too.
And then she had to go to dinner with Alexis, who seems like she’s going to be entertaining, to say the least. Her and her husband are those awful kind of people that are constantly all up on each other and want to tell you about it – she even made him a little plate of food like he’s not capable of dumping a couple hors d’oeuvres on a dish for himself. And they just can’t stand to be apart, in contrast with Tamra and creeptastic Simon, who just won’t let her be apart from him. So, you know, it just becomes more and more clear why she’s so jealous of Gretchen.
Who have we missed? Oh, Lynn and Jeana. Well, Lynn wants a face lift to go with her painful-looking implants, and she took her teenage daughter along with her to the consultation to see about getting a nose job. Because that’s exactly the message everyone should be sending to teenage girls – plastic surgery will give you self-esteem! When her other daughter found out, she was super jealous, because mom, it’s not fair, she already got a BMW!!!
So there were a lot of things to make you sad for humanity in this episode, but the thing that gave me the biggest frown was the news that Jeana will be leaving the show after next week’s episode. At least that explains why she didn’t get a much of a storyline in either of these episodes – no need to set her up for anything later. We’ll miss you, Jeana! Don’t leave us alone with these crazy people!