Normally, I love a good Real Housewives dinner party fight, but on last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County, the drama and strife just all seemed so…manufactured. The show is almost completely manufactured, of course, and generally I don’t mind it if that fact seems obvious here and there; that’s how our reality TV sausage is made. Last night, though, Tamra forgot to give Alexis the opportunity to be a bad guest before reading her the riot act for being one.

The entire episode was a build up to the fight, which we only saw the first portion of at the end of the episode. I still don’t understand why everyone was so heated, and I probably never will. Still, let’s have a recap.

1. Alexis got Vicky a mirror as a congrats-on-your-face-surgery present. I couldn’t even make that up. That is brilliant on a level that I am unable to attain. It’s so dumb that it loops on back around to brilliant.

2. Alexis mistook Vicky’s need to have an ally at Tamra’s party for Vicky wanting her actual friendship. “Aww, Vicky, you really wanted me there!” Sometimes I feel bad for Alexis. Not often, because generally I don’t find willful ignorance to be a sympathetic trait in grown women, but she’s been on this show for years and seemed generally touched to be invited to a party as a diversion. Or as a battering ram, depending on how craven you think Vicky is. In return, Alexis invited new-girl Lydia to be her diversion, except she forgot that no one hates Lydia yet, so it didn’t work out all that well.

3. Heather is a better substitute talk radio host than Alexis was a local news fitness bunny. Heather is a good reader, which is always an admirable quality in a Housewife. Side note: how did people get these entertainment-adjacent gigs before there was reality TV to propel them into a low-level spotlight?

4. “We don’t feel the need to put every nook and cranny of our house out for people to see.” Said Heather, as the show gave us the hundreth wide-angle shot of her home’s interior this season. Lydia and her husband, to their credit, shall not be extorted into giving anyone the cover of their magazine.

5. Tamra was so nervous about seeing Alexis that she had the nervous poops. It was like me before debate tournament finals in high school, except I wasn’t trying to simultaneously pick out a cocktail dress.

6. Heather, Tamra and Gretchen seemed deeply concerned about Alexis’ arrival at the party. I know Alexis is kind of annoying in general – I’m the first one to admit that – but she’s probably the least threatening person on the face of the planet, or at least on the face of whatever planet these women live on. She’s not rabid, and she’s not smart enough to be truly mean or conniving. On the other hand, Vicky, who is the genuinely crazy person that everyone should worry about, was somehow not a cause for concern. After eight seasons, Vicky knew exactly what hauling Alexis to the party would do: let her off the hook by giving the other women a target. It was like a zookeeper throwing a beef shank over the railing of the lion enclosure. Poor Beef Shank Alexis.

7. Lydia was the only one mature enough to try to make any pleasant conversation at Tamra’s party. When she finally gave up and let things fall silent, Vicky took up the mantel by reminding everyone that her insurance office was across the street and then declaring that she had a new baby. When Gretchen pointed out that it was kind of a funny way to say that her daughter had had a child, Vicky called her a stupid person, which Gretchen thankfully didn’t flip out about. Unfortunately, she and the other women seemed to be conserving their energy to chase Alexis around the room later.

8. Tamra, in her infinite maturity, announced at dinner that she didn’t actually want Alexis to come. And then it was off to the races about lawsuit threats and slander, as though we were watching Beverly Hills all over again, except without the veneer of interest that those problems had at the beginning of the Beverly Hills season. It frustrates me to have to take Alexis’ side, but we all know that Tamra can stand up for herself, so if she didn’t want Alexis at the party, she shouldn’t have told Vicky it was ok to invite her. I don’t think Alexis was bullied in Costa Rica and I think it’s silly that she keeps trying to cash in on that incident, but it’s genuinely mean to extend an invitation to someone and then proclaim at the event that you wish they hadn’t come, completely unprompted. Dinner hadn’t even been served yet. At the very least, Tamra should have given Alexis more of an opportunity to make an ass of herself before freaking out.

9. And then Tamra stuck her fingers and her ears and shouted LA LA LA LA LA, because she is an adult. Just to put the cherry on top of the whole ridiculous evening.

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