Last night was the first part in a two-episode season finale for Real Housewives of Orange County, and naturally, it took place almost entirely at the contrived name-change party that Heather planned as the customary wrap-up shindig that almost every season of Real Housewives has to have. Normally these parties are fairly mundane because most of the storylines have already been resolved in some way, but thankfully a drunk quasi-housewife took it upon herself to cause some trouble/entertainment.
So this Sarah person. Was she supposed to be a housewife and got cut for being too constantly drunk? That’s never seemed to bother Bravo in the past (see: Kim Richards, possibly Vicki). Was she just too much of a generalized trouble-making mess? Again, that doesn’t seem like something to which Bravo is generally opposed, but she’s been around enough this season that we know she’s not boring. So what’s the deal?
Naturally, our first scene concerned Tamra’s engagement. Specifically, she and Heather sat down to have some drinks and wait for Gretchen to arrive so that Tamra could break the news. Heather already knew because Tamra had called her from Bora Bora, but she apparently calling her new BFF Gretchen wasn’t at the top of the to-do list. She had also called Vicki, who never returned her calls (presumably because she was too busy gazing upon Brooks’ new teeth), and therefore didn’t know about Tamra’s engagement or get invited to the Real Housewives Summit to discuss it. So take that, Vicki.
When Gretchen arrived, her cobalt feather earrings/cobalt skinny jeans ensemble was temporarily distracting from everything else that went on, but eventually pictures were shared and the ring was revealed. Rumor has it that the trip had been planned by producers for Gretchen and Slade to get engaged, and I couldn’t quite tell if Gretchen’s enthusiastic reaction was genuine or over-acted. She was excited about the location, the engagement, the ring, everything! So excited! OMG! Let’s plan a bachelorette party! So either Tamra and Gretchen are actually friends, or Gretchen was trying really, really hard to pretend that she didn’t know exactly what was going on. I’m still not quite sure which scenario I think is true.
At a different outdoor cocktail hour, Alexis got together (inexplicably) with Gretchen’s drunk friend from the bowling alley to talk about how mean everyone is and how nice she is by contrast. Drunk Sarah, apparently sober for a moment, chimed in to tell her that all those petty bitches are just jealous, of course, because that’s the stock line that you use when anyone you like is talking about why other people don’t like her. Sometimes it’s true, but in this situation, it’s not – even if you think the other housewives were incredibly mean to her (which I still don’t think they were), I don’t think that the argument that Alexis’ life is objectively fantastic enough to engender serious rage can be convincingly made. At least not based on what we know about it.
The next day, we visited Heather, who had just received lots of beautiful flower deliveries in advance of her name-change party. The setup looked beautiful, and in case the other cast members had forgotten about what real wealth looks like, the party (plus Heather’s house) would probably be a good reminder. Heather also said that someone’s champagne would have a real diamond in it, which only made me hope that someone would accidentally drink the diamond and then have to sort through her own poop for days in pursuit of it. Maybe Alexis can finally have a real ring!
At Vicki’s house, she was shit-talking Tamra’s new engagement (never mind that she had barely filed for divorce herself and still lived with her husband when she started up a serious relationship with Brooks, King of the Grifters) because she had only been officially, legally divorced for six months. Two things: Tamra’s been with Eddie for over two years, and at their ages, it’s totally natural to be thinking about marriage at that point. They’re not teenagers. Second of all, didn’t we see Tamra get officially divorced earlier in the season? Has this season’s story line spanned a full six months? Actually, I also have a third question: Who the hell needs a fur coat when you live at the beach? None of what happened in the entire Vicki-Brooks scene appeared to occur in anything resembling objective reality.
Once people started arriving at the party, it became clear that everyone had been watching too much Mob Wives, because it was all stilettos and fur coats. Sometimes bad ones. (Ahem, Alexis.) And then sometimes they were so bad that it was almost hard to believe that they hadn’t been made on the floor of someone’s garage. (Ahem, Gretchen.) Vicki made everyone touch hers while regaling them with tales of Brooks purchasing it for her, and in the only thing I’ll ever say in Vicki’s defense, her coat was actually pretty nice. The nicest of the group, at least, which I suppose is faint praise. Along Gretchen and Tamra, though, I suspect that the actual payment for the coat may have not come directly from the gentleman from Mississippi.
Vicki also used the coat and its origin as a greeting for her daughter Brianna, who she hasn’t spoken to or seen since their epic fight from a few episodes back. Because when your daughter has serious reservations about the man you’re dating, the best way that you can prove that he loves you is to wave an impractical present he “bought” in front of her face! That’ll solve everything, surely. Did you know that it’s physically impossible for a man to give you a gift unless he’s genuinely in love with you and also not using you for your money and notoriety? Little known fact. Which grants the premise that the coat was a gift in the first place, which is not a premise I’m actually willing to grant.
We couldn’t focus on Vicki’s delusions for long, though, because the party’s plus-ones were too busy causing trouble. Drunken Sarah wasn’t actually invited, but Alexis brought her anyway, and she was soon so wastey-face that Alexis had to escort her to the bathroom and tell her to maybe take a break from chugging cocktails and sip some water instead. Back out at the party, Jeanna Keough and her daughter showed up, apparently invited by Gretchen, and Tamra almost had an aneurism when she realized it. Jeanna’s daughter donned a poncho over her party outfit to make for easy cleanup in case of wine-throwing incidents like last season’s, which made the surely awkward situation at least slightly funny. I don’t miss Jeanna, but I do miss her kid. But only the girl child. The two boys can go to hell, if I remember correctly.
After noticing the poncho, Tamra, Jeanna and Jeanna’s daughter all sat down and managed to have what was a very reasonable (by Real Housewives standards) conversation about the entire wine-throwing incident from last season, complete with an apology from Tamra that seemed more genuine than Jeanna’s acceptance of it. At some point in the past, Jeanna turned malevolent, and I’m not sure exactly when that was, but she still seems heinous in a way that she wasn’t when she was originally on the show. Jeanna started to turn sour around the same time that Tamra started improving herself, actually.
Once the heart-to-heart was over, someone mentioned to Heather that Drunk Sarah had snapped off part of the bow on her fancy party cake, which is just about the biggest drunk bitch move ever. When everyone went to find Sarah to confront her, she was slurring and had put her hair up in a messy side bun, just in case we weren’t already sure that she was sloppiest lady at the party. After some sneering and eye-rolling (on her part, not on the part of her accusers), Sarah finally decided that it was a sugar imbalance that forced her to eat part of the cake before it was cut, when in reality, she just didn’t think about it for more than a half a second beforehand because she was six or champagne cocktails deep and not a particularly nice or thoughtful person to begin with.
Now, in the big scheme of things, a cake is indeed not that important. Not even a fancy-schmancy cake. But when you’re in someone’s home, at someone’s party, enjoying their hospitality and their free food and their open bar and their million-dollar view of the Pacific Ocean, you just don’t fuck with their cake, particularly a decoration that’s visible from the front. It’s classless, it’s unnecessary and it’s the kind of thing that really bothers someone who goes to the trouble to order what’s basically a wedding cake for her “name-change” party. In essence, it’s everything that a Real Housewives brawl is made of.
And brawl they did, at least as much as Heather is willing and/or capable of brawling. Alexis stepped in to defend Drunk Sarah (I’m still confused, isn’t she Gretchen’s friend?) for reasons that weren’t entirely clear, but by then, Sarah was cussing and yelling and gesticulating wildly enough that her cause was beyond help. Even if she’d been right, she’d still look like the jerk in the situation, and she wasn’t even in the right to begin with. Apparently Heather will try to bounce Sarah out of the party next week, which is indeed the correct choice when an uninvited guest starts yanking chunks off of your uncut cake. Even children know not to do that.