With last night’s episode of Real Housewives came a reminder that next week’s episode is the series’ 100th, and it’s kind of hilarious to look back on the very first season of Real Housewives. Does anyone even remember that it all started as a reality-TV response to Desperate Housewives? Or that it used to be centered exclusively around women living in the Coto de Caza gated community? Or that Jo, Slade’s first Housewives girlfriend, was the original RH wannabe pop-star? We’ve come so far, but at the same time, we haven’t. Maybe we’ve even regressed! In that spirit, let’s go over what went on last night.
1. Lydia’s getting ambitious with her Alexis powwows. Perhaps because the meeting she brokered between Alexis and Tamra was so successful, Lydia decided she wanted to see if she could get Alexis and Heather to do the same. The difference, of course, is that Tamra is in serious therapy and trying to be a better, more peaceful person, and Heather is just Heather. People like Heather and people like Alexis are natural enemies, you can tell that simply by looking at their hair. Lydia may have overlooked this in the afterglow of her nascent diplomatic success.
2. Now that Tamra’s reunited with Vicki, suddenly Gretchen’s a “difficult” friend. Tamra hasn’t said an ill word about Gretchen all season, as far as I can remember, and she had a majorly emotional moment with her just last week in Mexico. When Vicki’s the one doing the asking, though, Gretchen’s self-centered, difficult and hard to have around. Granted, all of those things about Gretchen may be true at times (or usually) (or always), and it’s okay to think those thoughts about friends occasionally. It only becomes a problem when you start, you know, yapping about it to people in front of a full camera crew, which is what Vicki masterfully goaded Tamra into doing without any hesitation. Nascent narrative arc, ahoy!
3. Heather and Alexis’ diplomatic summit went south quickly. Maybe Lydia should have come to babysit them like she babysat Tamra and Alexis, but it probably wouldn’t have helped all that much. As soon as they sat down, the bickering began. I couldn’t even tell what most of the sniping was about, honestly, but after resolving absolutely nothing, they agreed to start fresh and be nice the next time they saw each other. That’s sure to work, of course. A zillion previous fake detentes in past Real Housewives universes have taught us that.
4. Brianna’s husband deploying to Afghanistan is a fairly stark reminder that Real Housewives is incredibly stupid. Real-life drama like Ryan’s military service makes a good storyline, I suppose, but Real Housewives works best when it exists in its own universe of petty problems and superficial feuds. Juxtaposing the contrived drama of Lydia’s salsa party with the actual drama of war just makes everything we’re watching seem dumber than we already knew it was. It’s in Bravo’s best interest not to remind us of that. I hope Ryan serves his deployment safely and gets home quickly.
5. Slade thinks it’s appropriate to comment on Lydia’s weight to her face. Yes, Lydia is quite petite, but saying someone needs to eat a cheeseburger is idiocy, just like saying an overweight person needs to stop eating a cheeseburger. Lydia’s weight and body shape is not within Slade’s purview, it’s not his business and commenting on it in any way is rude. It’s not a compliment. Lydia’s body is not community property and it’s not there for Slade’s enjoyment, so telling her she needs to change it to please him is nothing but nasty. (This is a huge pet peeve of mine, if you hadn’t already picked up on that.) The weird, almost predatory look in Slade’s eyes when Lydia challenged him on his rudeness tells you all you need to know about the amount of respect Slade has for women, in case you hadn’t already figured that out based on all the other nasty things he’s said about people’s appearances on this show in the past.
6. Brooks might be dating a porn star when he’s not surprising Vicki to get a little camera time. Lauri is a font of information, most of it likely embellished if not entirely false, but I do enjoy listening to her tell ridiculous stories about things that may or may not happen off camera. I wish that they were true, and based on Vicki’s reaction to the information in the previews for next week’s episode, this little tidbit actually might be.
7. Gretchen thinks Alexis shouldn’t come wedding dress shopping with Tamra because it’s “so personal.” Because having an extra person along to watch a wedding dress appointment that’s being filmed by a professional television crew for the consumption of millions of people at home is really a violation of privacy, you know? And maybe if Alexis comes, then Gretchen doesn’t want to go because Gretchen is so selfless and doesn’t want to create a distraction by being three seats over from Alexis on a white couch in some cheesy wedding salon. You’d think that Gretchen would be old enough to know that attempting to withhold your friendship from someone in an effort to get them to change their relationships with other people always backfires. Then again, if Bravo was casting women who understand the finer mechanics of successful interpersonal communication, this show would have lasted all of one season.