Real Housewives of Orange County seemed a whole lot more fun before Mad Men came back on the air. I know they’re apples and oranges, but watching and dissecting Mad Men makes everything Bravo runs look like the television equivalent of preschool finger-painting, and after I watch it, I often feel like you do after you eat a whole box of Girl Scout cookies: bloated, over-indulged and vaguely shameful, even if no one saw you do it. (Not that I’ve eaten a whole box of Girl Scout cookies lately or anything.)
At this point in the oeuvre of Real Housewives, I’m actually rooting for ridiculous things to happen, in the hopes that the show’s producers will one day be as bored as I am and let it happen. How awesome would it have been if there had actually been a bear rampaging through the camp? Or even if that skunk had actually doubled down and sprayed Vicki? Can’t the wilderness throw us a bone, even if Bravo isn’t willing to?
We started with Tamra, who continued to improve after implant removal surgery. Vicki came over to visit, but she didn’t exactly lend her support – she has giant, unsightly implants herself, after all, and Vicki couldn’t even fathom why anyone would want to go back to their real body after being “improved” by the tender hands of a Southern California plastic surgeon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vicki seemed to be one of those people who thinks that the personal choices of others are also a referendum on her own personal choices, probably because she’d absolutely suffocate with boredom if she didn’t have a way to make everything about her, all the time.
Tamra also brought up that crazy episode at the bowling alley, during which it was revealed to her that Vicki and Alexis are making nice. When questioned about it, Vicki confirmed that they’re friendly and then turned right around and called Alexis stupid, so I guess we’ll see how long this newfound bond lasts. Tamra, like the rest of us, was unimpressed, and also probably a little jealous that her friend has a new friend that she hates, just like Vicki was when she found out that Gretchen and Tamra are no longer trying to strangle each other on the regular.
Elsewhere, Alexis planned a “glamping” trip for all of the housewives to get together and bond in the great outdoors. Tamra was lucky enough to get out of having to go because of her recent surgery, and in case you weren wondering about the progress of Alexis’ surgery, she can go camping but she can’t bend over or carry heavy stuff. How convenient! That excuses Alexis from any and all work that might normally be associated with the activity of camping, which is, of course, super lucky for her. “Lucky!” Alexis was also told by her doctor that she needed to bring someone along with her for the trip, and as Heather helpfully pointed out, Alexis chose to bring her hair and makeup girl instead of someone with, I don’t know, a medical background. Because if Alexis’ nose ruptures, a 20-year-old chick with a curling iron is going to save her life.
Now, my thoughts on camping: It seems like the thing I would hate most in the world. I would rather go to the gynecologist every day for a month than spend a weekend camping. I don’t like hiking, I don’t like sweating, I don’t like the outdoors. I don’t even like the smell of fresh-cut greenery. I moved to New York City because I really only need to see grass every three weeks or so, and unless I one day end up on the lam from the state police, you best believe I will never sleep in the woods.
Over at Tamra’s house, she was lazing around on the couch, using her old implants as ice packs to make her new titties feel better. Eddie came over to visit and said mostly nice things to her and told her that she looked great and that she maybe looked a little stripper-y before, which is true. As for the new set, they look great – totally normal, an appropriate size, everything. Imagine that; a woman on Real Housewives with all of her original parts.
Back with the rest of the group (minus Gretchen, who sat out this round so that she wouldn’t get in another screaming match and ruin her voice), everyone had arrived at the camp site to find out that they weren’t actually camping – they all had cabins. I would perhaps consent to this type of camping trip if I were promised that I’d be expected to do nothing outside beyond sitting around the fire and cooking some food, although it seemed as though some of the wives (Heather) were opposed to cooking as well. Alexis, on the other hand, was in her cabin, contemplating the uses of ice cube trays while Heather searched for the appropriate stemware for her red wine. Only white wine glasses were provided, much to her discontent.
Heather’s discontent continued when Brianna asked her for help with a table, at which point she told her to get it herself. If you remember, Brianna had major surgery at the same time that Alexis did, and Heather thinks that if she wanted help with things, she should have hired an assistant to come glamping with her. I had such high hopes for Heather at the beginning of this season. Do you remember that? That was so naive of me. I still like her about 50% of the time, though, which is more than I can say for a lot of people in the Real Housewives universe.
While Vicki was inside her cabin doing one of her four mandatory daily check-ins with her creepy boyfriend, Heather and Alexis were outside talking about the housing market. More accurately, Alexis was talking about how well Earth Jesus knows the market, and in the next breath, she mentioned how much money they lost in the housing market with their last place. So, wait, exactly what does Jim know about? What kind of an expert is he that he can’t find a house in this huge buyer’s market so that they don’t continue to waste money on a giant rental castle? Or can they just not qualify for a mortgage? Questions, I have them. I have them in spades.
The food eventually arrived for everyone to cook, and from the near-total confusion that overtook the group when it came to grilling pre-marinated pieces of meat over a fire (with firewood and easy-peasy fire-starters provided, of course), I wouldn’t be surprised if we met a new cast member named E.Coli next week. Heather was the only one that managed to pay attention to the instructions and build the fire, which makes the fact that Heather is an asshole half the time even more infuriating – she actually IS smart.
Once the meat was cooking, Vicki and Alexis got to a little bit of bonding, and Vicki actually sorta-apologized for never being very nice to her because of Tamra’s negative influence. She took a little bit of it back at the end, but mostly it seemed perfectly reasonable. Not only that, but everyone survived the night despite all the panic over skunks and imaginary bears and made it to breakfast the next morning. Thankfully, they had help to cook breakfast for them while they ran away from bees and gossiped amongst each other, during which Heather prodded a little more at Alexis’ version of reality.
What bothers Heather about Alexis is one of the same things that’s always bothered me – I can’t help but think that most of the time, she’s lying. Whether she’s lying knowingly or because Earth Jesus never tells her what’s actually going on, I don’t know, but so much of what Alexis says just doesn’t pass the truth sniff test that she seems almost delusional. Of course, much of the stuff she talks about can’t be fact checked, but so much that comes out of her mouth has that cumbersome, rough-edged feel of mistruth. She wears a fake ring a lot because she’s scared to wear her fake ring? Is that just a cover in case someone notices her diamond is fake? She urged her husband to buy a Prius to…stimulate the economy? Is that because they’re under financial pressure and they can’t afford to gas up the rented Escalade? For some reason, I just can’t suspend disbelief and take Alexis at face value, and neither can Heather. Unfortunately, they didn’t get in the screaming match I was hoping we’d eventually see and the trip ended without fanfare.
The episode ended with Gretchen and Slade going to see yet another voice coach, which is funny, because apparently Bravo doesn’t realize that literally no one cares. Apparently Gretchen’s voice is still messed up from screaming at Vicki eight years ago, and on the car ride home from the voice lesson (is there some sort of clause in Gretchen’s contract that requires Bravo to show her in the car at least once per episode?), she got all weepy at Slade because it is All His Fault. He made jokes about Vicki, which meant that Gretchen had to scream at her and then accept a gig that required her to sing. All Slade’s fault, all of that. Perhaps I’d be a little more interested in all of this if I thought that any of it might lead to Gretchen dumping Slade, but he’s still around, so I couldn’t care less. More and more, that’s true of this entire series.