Like last week, this week’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County wasn’t QUITE what I wanted it to be. I’m not sure if that’s a failure of my expectations or of Bravo’s execution, or if maybe the fireworks on past Real Housewives vacations have us all spoiled for any future trips, but I was left wanting. We saw most of the dinner-table fireworks on last week’s episode, and an hour of Alexis feeling sorry for herself isn’t really what I tune in to watch
There were some funny moments, though, plus Vicki’s weird, possibly substance-assisted meltdown at the end of the episode. Because yesterday was a travel day for me, we’re doing this week’s recap with bullet points like last week’s, and you can find it after the jump. One last note: does anyone know when the season finale is? Because last night marked episode 17, which is a bit much.
- Vicki showed like half a second of self-awareness when she admitted that at some level, everyone on the show is phony and materialistic and that no one is actually going to change in any meaningful way. I fully expect that to be the last second of self-awareness that we ever see her exhibit.
- Even Gretchen admitted that Alexis sometimes says things in a way that comes across as phony and exaggerates things in a way that makes them difficult to believe. Of any criticism that I’ve ever heard between cast members on Real Housewives, it was perhaps the most mild and reasonable, in addition to it being objectively the truth. And yet, it was still a huge betrayal.
- As a result, Alexis complained that Gretchen wasn’t a true friend, but what is a “true friend,” anyway? To qualify as a true friend, do you have to lie? When people are voicing legitimate and fair issues that they have with your friend, are you supposed to come to her defense even if you think the criticisms are valid? Even if you think the people who have the criticism are being reasonable in how they’re handling the situation? Even if talking it out with Alexis is far more mature than continuing to bitch about her behind her back? Personally, if someone I considered my close friend thought I handled myself the way that Gretchen thinks Alexis does, I’d want her to say something. Perhaps it would be better to say something privately, but when put on the spot, I come back to my first question: Was Gretchen supposed to lie, or be honest and try to steer things in a constructive direction?
- Even though Alexis was freaking out and in need of a friend, she noticed that Vicki mostly wanted to talk about herself when she came to see her in her hotel room. (Notably, the years-old attack about which Vicki was complaining was also over some very valid criticisms of Vicki’s bad behavior.)
- Heather’s talk with Alexis the next morning was both classy and mature. She’s redeemed herself a lot from her crass debut at the beginning of the season.
- Alexis is gorgeous, but I find her aesthetic…distractingly porn-y. Not just sexy, but like someone who actually has sex for a living. The problems with Alexis are often problems of degree; sure, everyone in her universe looks sorta like her, but she takes it to a level that’s off-putting. Everything’s just a little shorter, tighter and lower-cut. Her boobs and lips are augmented almost as much as they can be. It’s like every part of Alexis’ life is an attempt to win some sort of imaginary competition.
- Related: When Alexis and Gretchen were discussing things the next day, Alexis asked why no one gets mad when Heather brings a Chanel bag to the beach or says how much something cost. That’s another issue of degree that I’m not particularly surprised Alexis doesn’t perceive, but as best as I can tell, it boils down to the fact that no one doubts that Heather’s engagement ring is real or that she has the money to buy what she wants. We’ve never heard her give anyone a spontaneous list of all the cars in her garage, because when the car is paid for and not leased, you don’t feel the need to prove to anyone that you have it.
- I loved that Heather’s bathing suit, cover-up, beach bag and sunglasses were all black. SHE REALLY IS FROM NEW YORK.
- Monkeys. Boobs. Yawn. Gretchen does know the difference between the monkeys on the beach and chimpanzees, though, so that’s something.
- Tree-planting in the rain forest is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The rain forest already has trees. It is the very definition of the type of thing that boring, upper-middle-class white ladies do when they go to a foreign country instead of doing something that might actually teach them anything about the place they’re visiting and the people who live there. It’s warm fuzzies with no substance.
- Heather did not use the word “irony” correctly, but at least she knows it’s a thing.
- When I was on field trips as a kid, the “woo” girls always got on my damn nerves. You know, the ones who were excited by everything and constantly whooping and cheering and screaming and whatever. Between this episode and last week’s, I am 100% sure that not only do those girls never really lose that personality trait, but also that it continues to annoy the ever-loving shit out of me.
- I really wanted someone to fall out of the raft. Not get hurt or anything, but just fall out and get wet and have to be yanked back in. That would have made me really happy, so of course it didn’t happen.
- A vacation that involves zip-lining and white water rafting sounds like the last vacation I ever want to go on.
- Vicki’s meltdown was uncomfortable to watch, but one thing stuck out to me: is nursing school a seven-year program? Really? Because I’ve been out of college for four years, and even if you count undergrad, the girls I know who went to nursing school after we graduated have all been nurses for at least two years. So that’s six years, and the nursing program was really only two years of that. Nursing is hard, and I’m certainly not trying to belittle the training that’s required for it, but can’t Vicki just be proud of Brianna for the person she actually is, which seems to be pretty impressive on its own?
- Also concerning Vicki’s meltdown: All that babbling about wanting Donn back makes her codependent relationship with Brooks seem even more transparent than it already was. Which is impressive, because it was already pretty clear that she was merely with him in order to be with someone, in a sure-to-fail attempt to fill the hole that Donn left. Opportunists like Brooks can spot someone like that a mile away. The stink of desperation permeates everything.