Let’s see, Real Housewives of Orange County. What happened last night? Oh, everything that we were told would happen last week, more or less. Gretchen got up on stage, she made a fool of herself, everyone told her she did a great job and then made fun of her behind her back. You guys already knew exactly how all of this was going to go, right? Of course you did, because you’ve all see Real Housewives before.
After that, we had some filler (host-coaching, furniture-shopping, etc.) before we got to something that was actually kind of interest: Brianna dropped the bomb about her Vegas marriage on Vicki. Not only did she do it on camera, but she did it in public. This is the definition of schadenfreude, ladies. The very definition.
Naturally, this week’s episode started out in Las Vegas, immediately before Gretchen’s big (“big”) Pussycat Doll debut. She made it up onstage without incident, despite the fact that she was slathered in several gallons of glitter-infused baby oil, and other than an awkwardly long pause in the middle of the phrase “pussycat,” she intro’d the dancers just fine and managed to make it backstage again for a wardrobe change. She and her handlers seemed utterly euphoric that she shimmied around, said a few lines and got off stage without finding a way to totally embarrass herself in the span of a minute and a half.
In the audience, Vicki was trying to shield Brooks’ eyes from the dancers (There are no half-naked ladies in the South, duh. Everyone down there is smooth like a Barbie.) and all the rest of the Housewives were nervous on Gretchen’s behalf. Once she got changed and hit the stage, things went about as well/poorly as you’d expect. Gretchen can’t sing or dance, which is something that we all already knew, and I’m assuming that the Pussycat Dolls knew that as well and were simply hoping to be prominently featured on Bravo. (Wish granted.) Still, she sang the whole song, which is either a victory or a defeat, depending on your perspective.
Once the performance was over and everyone retired to the hotel suite, things were surprisingly positive. Vicki and Gretchen’s crazy drunken friend from the bowling party even made up! Vicki was magnanimous and accepted the apology! It’s opposite day, apparently! When the guest of honor arrived, still in full PCD regalia, she was showered with birthday gifts and empty praise for her less-than-mediocre performance. Vicki even paid forward the apology that she had just received and said she was sorry for the screaming fight they got in a few weeks prior, but Gretchen refused to return the gesture in kind. This is why we can’t have nice things.
To be clear, I don’t like either of these people (and I think that Vicki was more out of line than Gretchen, in the grand scheme), but when you’re in that kind of situation, YOU APOLOGIZE RIGHT BACK. You swallow your pride, make peace and act like the bigger person, even if you’re really giving Vicki the middle finger in your head. People who act smug and without fault in those kinds of situations are people who don’t get many apologies in the future. Gretchen, for her part, went right on opening her birthday gifts. She later claimed that she had said, “I’m sorry,” but I didn’t hear it. Of course, Vicki was also a jerk for trying to prompt Gretchen to apologize, but that’s the kind of behavior we all expect from Vicki, and Gretchen should have know it was coming as well.
We then left Gretchen to go downstairs to gamble, and Tamra, Heather and Vicki actually had an adult conversation about forgiving and forgetting. All that kind of talk is bullshit, of course, because the main requirement for being on Real Housewives is being completely unable to function at the average emotional level of an adult. They’re all self-aware to know that they need to pay lip service to that kind of functional maturity every once in a while, but none of them actually abide by it. That’s the central paradox of the entire Bravo reality TV universe, actually.
Before we knew it, everyone was back in Orange County and Vicki was touring the house that she needed to sell that she had never actually lived in in the first place. Part of me wonders if she bought the place merely so it could be a plot point on Real Housewives. First she and Donn were shopping for it, then there was tenant drama, then there was realtor drama (Jeanna Keough was her realtor, remember), and now there’s drama over selling it. She could probably write at least part of the cost of selling it off as a business expense, considering how many times we’ve had to listen to her talking about it with various and sundry cast members.
Over at the Bellino house, Alexis and her husband had prayed about whether or not she should see a hosting coach. Perhaps unsurprisingly, god told Alexis “yes” and Jim “no,” but Alexis decided that her version of god was the right one and went ahead and got some coaching. (The people of San Diego are all very relieved, but not as relieved as they would have been if Jim’s god had prevailed and he had forced her to stop hosting all together.) The coach reviewed Alexis’ reel and thought she was as terrible as we all did, but after an hour of coaching, her presenting skills had noticeably improved. I mean, she wasn’t good by any means, but her performance was…less bad. Real talk, whatever she paid the coach lady was worth the money, even if Earth Jesus is probably going to shackle her to a radiator by the end of the season and not let her go to San Diego anymore.
Elsewhere, Gretchen, Heather and their respective spouses got together for dinner at what appeared to be a Red Lobster, and they talked about all the things you’d expect – Vegas, Vicki, other things that start with V. Talk eventually turned to Alexis, who Heather’s husband called phony because…well, she is pretty phony. Even Gretchen admitted in her one-on-one that Alexis comes off as phony a lot of the time, and they’re supposedly friends. They’re supposed to be friends, right? I can’t keep track of the alliances anymore, there’s too much blonde to remember. (Side note: Was Gretchen looking particularly orange in this scene for anyone else? Why do people continue to buy bronzer in shades called “Oompa Loompa?”)
The next day, we checked in with Tamra, who in turn was checking in with Ryan, her grown-ass son. He has his very own apartment to himself for the first time, and now that Tamra and Simon aren’t together anymore, her relationship with Ryan has improved. The only problem was that Ryan didn’t have any furniture, so Tamra went with him to help pick some out. In a stunning spin on the regular Real Housewives story, Ryan was actually going to pay for the new stuff himself and not borrow money from his mom, who insisted on buying him a table or two anyway. It was like a real parent-adult child interaction, you guys.
In further parenting news, Vicki sat down with Brianna and her “boyfriend” Ryan the Marine to catch up with him a little bit. Brianna’s been with him for two years and Vicki has only met him once or twice, and he got back from Afghanistan not long ago. They ordered some drinks, but the purpose of the dinner soon became clear. As any gossip blog-readers in the audience know by now, Brianna and Ryan went to Vegas and got married without telling Vicki, and they had chosen that moment, with the cameras present, to let Vicki know that they had made it official. Perhaps they did it on the show so that Vicki wouldn’t physically harm anyone.
Brianna explained that the cancer scare and Ryan’s tour of duty in Afghanistan made them feel like they should seize the day and make the most of the time that they have, which is not all that surprising when you consider what Brianna’s been through (and by that, I mean both maybe having cancer and enduring a lifetime of Vicki). Obviously, it was also a bit of a power play, which is probably necessary from time to time when you have a mom like that – Vicki needs to be reminded that some things are, indeed, about Brianna and not her. Brianna and her now-husband still want to have the big ceremony with all their friends and family and Vicki, who will star as the worst mother-of-the-bridezilla ever, which seems fairly generous of them. It seems as though Vicki spends most of next week wailing to anyone who will listen that her daughter went to Vegas and got hitched, so perhaps she doesn’t see it that way.
I spent a little bit of time trying to figure out if I should feel bad for Vicki in that scene or not, and if it were almost anyone but Vicki (or Teresa from New Jersey when her kids get older), I think I would. Vicki, on the other hand, has chosen to put lots of the private parts of her children’s lives on television, including using the very real possibility that Brianna had cancer as a storyline on the show. Not everyone involves their kids that way, and setting that kind of precedent for how difficult family situations will be dealt with (on TV!) is going to come back to haunt anyone. We just saw it come back on Vicki.