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.

  • winterpenny

    Once again…great recap.  I agree with you about Jeanna.  She used to be one of my favorites.  She seemed pretty sweet.  Her sons were jerks, but I loved her daughter.  I think her daughter has a future Bravo show coming her way.  She’s smart, beautiful, and funny!  The whole Sarah plotline is so contrived that it feeds into the impression that these shows are fake.  The whole Sarah inviting herself to the party was very awkward…it didn’t make sense.  And Alexis said she didn’t want drama and she really doesn’t seem like the type that does…so why bring Sarah (who is a friend of someone you are mad at)?  I think Sarah was sent in to cause trouble and Alexis was the only one coming without a date. 

    Now onto the cake drama.  My husband could not believe how big of a deal everyone was making about the cake.  I do agree that they seemed pretty whipped up over a bow on a cake.  However, this isn’t some birthday cake that my kids will swipe with their finger to get a mouthful of frosting.  The cake was a big part of the party.  I can understand some of Heather’s anger…an uninvited guest who she obviously doesn’t like wrecks her cake justifies some anger.  But why the whole housewife cast had to join in was silly.  Heather should have called her a taxi and asked her to leave.  Done!  Now the previews for next week show the real fireworks!

  • SherryAva

    I really don’t like Heather. She reminds me of Luann, who needed Jill all the time. Heather wants a  friend whose a mean girl (in this case Tamra) to do her dirty work.  And I’m suspicious of anyone that loves Tamra that much.  What Sarah did was ridiculous and ill-mannered.  However the way Heather reacted – just as ridiculous to me. If Heather wanted, she could have confronted Sarah alone and if Sarah was being rude, she could have politely asked her to leave and asked for security if necessary.  However she chose to go tell her side kick Tamra, who loves to stir shit.  And they all headed over to confront Sarah.  So unnecessary.  So middle school.
    If this happened in Lisa’s (from BH) house, she would have said something witty to the offender and probably eaten a piece of the bow herself.  Not only is Lisa the real deal in terms of class, she’s”cerebral” enough to know what to make a big deal out of and what not to.  

    • Reality Junkie

      SherryAva, you’re probably right, Lisa VdP would have handled the situation differently. Heather had a right to be pissed, but it was JUST A FREAKING CAKE…and I personally thought that the “HD” initials looked like something my eleven year old daughter would have piped on. I guess the cake itself was okay but those pink, left-slanting letters looked very amateurish to me.

  • Lisa

    Great recap.   Are fur coats in fashion in Orange County?  Personally, I would prefer a nice piece of jewelry that I could wear all year.   

    What was Gretchen wearing in her hair at the party?  It looked like something from Claire’s that the little Toddler’s and Tiara’s contestants wear.   

    • Relli

      I was watching WWHL last night & Gretchen said it was a cold night and that’s why they were all wearing furs. I have only been to SoCal a handful of times but i do remember the nights being cool and I do remember my parents questioning why Disneyland sold so many sweatshirts, by the end of the trip we all had one!

      ALSO on WWHL Andy basically told Gretchen that she looked like a prostitute… Ok he actually said that Slade looked like her pimp. So toddlers & tiaras not that far off!

    • Ajmac3112

      I don’t get the fur thing, even here in the Midwest; and my family hunts. There were several comments on twitter last night about how it’s easy to find used furs cheap because many people are giving them up (either becoming enlightened or kids disposing of older relatives’ property after they pass away). I’m not sure if this is true but I doubt the guy whose girlfriend just bought him new teeth is going to have cash for a new fur coat.

  • kris

    Gretchen looks like Joyce Wildenstein (the cat woman plastic surgery nightmare who should be a PSA) in the picture in your post. Yikes!

    • Relli

       LOL! My sister does not have a HDTV and the first time she saw Gretchen on one she was horrified!

      • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

        HD really does Gretchen NO favors. She seems to cake on makeup to try and cover texture issues that she has with her skin, but it just makes them more obvious, I think. She’d probably be much better off seeing a good derm and wearing nothing but moisturizer and sunblock on her face for a few months.

      • Yerani

        I’ve seen Gretchen in person at the OC Fair at one of those booths (stop judging me) and the makeup is just beyond what is acceptable even on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She has what look like moles on her face, hence your theory of “texture issues” but I think more than anything it’s the makeup building on top of itself which makes her face look less beauty queen, more burlap sack. She is way too young to be piling it on that much!

  • John

    Jeanna was awful. Just awful. I couldn’t stand her or her children. I guess her daughter was ok but those boys were just horrible to her, and she let them. I think she let herself be the punching bag for so long that it messed up her personality or something. She seems a sneaky, low-down bitch who would stab you in the back.

  • Sara

     The whole cake thing was weird…Weird that an adult would snap a piece off and weird a group of women would confront her about it.

    Dealing with drunk, rude guests is obnoxious so I am on Heather’s side in this.

  • LLANeedle

    Vicki’s fur didn’t fit her well at all.

    • Nancy from SB

       You are correct – it made her look like a big fat bear.

       And the sad thing is, the fur DID perfectly fit the lovely little animals from whom they were scalped off of, after they were beaten over the heads and anally electrocuted. (How glamorous!)

  • NCGal

    Vicki’s clothing is always too small for her.
    She needs to trade out all those tight, too-titty, too-short, hoochie-Mama
    dresses and high-high heels for some clothing that actually works for her and
    her shape. I can imagine that Vicki would never allow anyone to help her in
    that or any other respect. Vicki is beyond delusional. ALLLLL of these women
    wear too much make-up for ANY occasion, and yet, save Tamara-Sue, they all seem
    to have a make-up person in their employ. Amanda, I agree, the
    fur-theme-cake-who-gives-a shit-about- your-name-change-party was so bizarre.
    We, in our faith, have naming celebrations with a party for baby girls when
    they are newborns. To call it a Jewish tradition is bullshit. Just have a
    party, already! These are all new-moneyed women who are making all of the
    mistakes that the nouveau make:  BIG DEBT; frenetic, incessant talk about
    money; ostentatious spending on self: garish clothing, damaged over-processed,
    over-styled hair, inappropriate make-up, over-the-top cars, brand-flashing
    jewelry, awful conference-center homes (got that amazing description from
    Amanda!); tasteless, cheesy-looking home décor; unchecked, angry children;
    rampant substance abuse; minimal education (with little desire to do anything
    by way of education that will do anything but net them more money…quick),
    travel that doesn’t really expand their consciousness or connect them with
    anything authentic; and friendships that are predicated propping each other up
    and an agreement that nobody busts anyone for any reason, ever, lest the whole
    house of cards tumble down on all of them. Pretty Goddamn sad way to go through
    life.

    • Reality Junkie

      NCGal, I agree with pretty much everything you said, and I think you summed up why the Real Housewives is such a pop phenomenon. Most of us don’t have their material things, and yet we can feel better about ourselves because we see what a trainwreck life can beome when your focus is on what you “have” instead of who you “are”.
      That said, I must admit that I love Heather’s hotel of a home. I think it is far more elegant than the gold-gilted Vanderpump and Maloof mansions, for example.

    • Keaveney

      NCGal such a true recap of the nouveau rich, I am related to one….sister in law…..you described her to a t…..these women don’t care about substance or heart……sad sad sad

  • http://twitter.com/TheDecorGirl Lisa M. Smith

    You nailed it!  Those blue earrings Gretchen had on were hideous!  I mean we know these girls own a mirror or 12.  Well, that is assuming they know how to look in one, a minor character flaw in Alexis: the inability to look at oneself.  She is just so out there. 

    Speaking of Alexis, what was that recycled rat coat she was wearing?  Have you noticed the lack of religious air about her since Kathy Griffin has renamed her “Jesus Barbie?”

    They certainly played up the drama on the cake, how about Heather’s possessed demon look at then end?  Ouch. Drunk Sarah was totally in the wrong as everyone but Alexis can comprehend.

    As for Vicki, she’s got that same affliction with not being able to see herself either.  Every single thing she bitches about in regard to someone else, is something she does!  Kinda like Ramona on NYHW.

    It has been a pretty juicy season.  Heather and her husband have been a great addition. Can’t wait for the finale and reunion.

    • Reality Junkie

      Lisa, can you believe someone actually called WWHL (or texted or tweeted; don’t remember which) and asked Gretchen where she got those blue feather earrings?!? No kidding!

  • Reality Junkie

    I just watched “First Look” and part two of the finale begins with Sara following Heather into the (cordoned-off) kitchen to start even more shit about the cake, despite the fact that Heather had put it to rest. Sara has a serious personality disorder which is likely linked to alcohol, but who knows? Have we ever seen her sober? I know a girl who, like Sara, when she drinks, inevitably causes trouble and then just refuses to SHUT THE HELL UP, and it is maddening. I agree with Heather when she says she hopes to never see Sara again.

    Later, apparently Vicki and Tamra finally have it out about Brooks…Vicki,  sporting her rose colored glasses along with her fur, LOSES ITcompletely. (Please, Andy, give us a montage of Vicki screeching at the top of her lungs this season). That woman needs to be retired from reality television. She is truly delusional and has lost her husband, her kids, her wealth, her mind….I just don’t want to watch it anymore. Her once thriving business is likely suffering as well….who is going to call this nutjob for insurance or financial advice?

    Amanda, thanks for another great recap. I know you can’t recap RHONY, but would you consider giving us a few talking points and a place for us all to comment on/discuss our favorite mindless indulgence? I think it would be fun and wouldn’t require you to dedicate hours to the recap! Will you think about it, please?

    • NCGal

      We would allllll love it! Please, Amanda?????

  • NCGal

    OMG…I just came across TVGasm and their redubs of all things RH…HYsterical!

  • Thabilemsezane

    I luv recaps Amanda although we are a bit behind with real housewives in South Africa but I always read your recaps , I just luv your blog I hope one day I will afford the bags.

    Thabile msezane