Real Housewives of Orange County: Oh How the Mighty Fall
Sometimes watching this show makes me look around in disbelief searching for someone else to share in my “are they serious?!” moments with when things get a little over the top. This week’s episode had about 50 of those moments. Where to begin…
We pick back up where they left off last week, in a war of words during Lynne’s flimsy attempt at a dinner party/jewelry showcase. The Inconsiderate Twins, Tamra and Gretchen, seemed oblivious to the fact that even though Lynne’s cuffs and baubles were heinous, she worked really hard putting that event together and those two ruined it with their screaming match. So Tamra called Gretchen a dirty slut, Gretchen told Tamra to shut the (bleep) up, and eventually they both retreated to their own corners when the bell rang. The next day, Gretchen needed to relieve the stress caused by the fight so she did what any rational person would do – she threw a spray tanning party. Um, sure, why not.
This is where things really got weird, starting with Lynne’s 16-year-old daughter asking her if she could have a beer at the party. (“Oh sure honey, do you want me to roll you a joint while you’re at it?”) Nice try, even Gretchen thought that request was ridiculous. Then, Slade upped the classiness factor at the party even higher when he got totally naked except for a sock on his…man parts, and stood out in the open for everyone to see (and by everyone, I mean Gretchen’s mother was at the party too, yikes). Finally, Lynne decided she wanted to spray tan topless, and since she couldn’t cover her eyes and her breast implants at the same time, Gretchen stepped in to put her hands over Lynne’s boobs. If it sounds bizarre, believe me it was.
Then we got an inside look into just how badly the ladies of the OC and their husbands are faring financially, starting with Tamra and Simon. ATTENTION ALL GOLD DIGGERS: The reason marrying someone for money is a bad idea is because when the well dries up, you’ll be left with a spouse who seems irritated by your every move, because ultimately you have nothing in common and no real affection to keep your marriage afloat. Witness Exhibit A – the palpable tension between Tamra and Simon as they put their dream house on the market. Simon’s dwindling income is coming solely from selling Tequila and Tamra would sooner cry her eyes out about their lifestyle crunch than seek actual employment to contribute, a fact which Vicki points out right away.
Vicki is the only one on the show who appears financially prosperous during the recession, as she jets off to Italy on vacation with her mother and her daughter as a graduation present. I’m not sure what was more amusing, watching Vicki try to explain that she only drinks California wines to a waiter with an obvious language barrier (while sitting in a region known for its unparalleled wines), or listening to Vicki’s mom hate on every single thing about their trip. Grandma was unimpressed by the hotel, the restaurant, even the Roman Colosseum – centuries of historians would probably beg to differ with her disgust, but it made me laugh at least. I kept hoping some angry Italians with no tolerance for ignorant Americans would dunk the trio in the Trevi Fountain, but no such luck.
Lynne’s finances might still be intact too, as she planned some upcoming plastic surgery for her and her daughter. Yes, I said mother/daughter plastic surgery – how very Orange County of them. Lynne wants to look a little less Cro-Magnon so she’s getting a face lift, and her daughter is getting a nose job for her birthday. When they tell Lynne’s younger daughter about their plans, she throws a spoiled fit that her sister is getting plastic surgery and she isn’t. Charming.
Jeana’s real estate business is almost non-existent (I guess $12 million houses aren’t in high demand in this economy), so she’s forced to sell watches, cars and art work. And while Lynne’s daughters are fighting over plastic surgery, Jeana’s daughter is waitressing to pay her own way in college. She and her mom have wisely downgraded their shopping sprees to the much more economical H&M stores, and Jeana seems ready to be done with the rest of the housewives and move on, and she’ll get her wish after next week. Even Gretchen is jumping on the money saving bandwagon, hocking her belongings at a joint garage sale with Slade the Opportunistic Moron (I think he should legally change his name, any other suggestions?). I wonder how much someone would pay for a dried up old Frat boy? Quick, someone slap a price tag on Slade!
Finally, we meet the newest Housewife, Alexis, when she and her husband Jim go on a double date with Tamra and Simon. I don’t even know how Tamra and Simon kept their appetites up enough to eat, what with Alexis and Jim putting on a nauseating display of lovey-doveyness across the table. Alexis kept saying how they never spend time apart, have secret code words in front of the kids for when they want to roll around (I’ll never look at “cookies” the same way again, thanks jerks) and generally worship the ground each other walks on. We get it – you’re trying to show that you married him because you love him and not for his bank account, yawn. I actually felt sorry for Tamra during this scene, because it showed how awful her own marriage was in comparison – she and Simon even got into a fight over how she doesn’t “obey” him enough. Personally, I think this was Tamra’s cue to grab the nearest butter knife and put Simon in his place for that comment (it’s not 1950 anymore), but maybe that’s just me…
Next week will definitely be a key episode, with Jeana passing the torch to Alexis and moving on to greener pastures. I actually think Jeana’s the sanest one of the whole bunch, and she supports herself too – which is more than we can say for the rest of the ladies. I’m interested to see if Alexis keeps it tight with Tamra, or once she meets the rest of the crazies, I mean housewives, if she’ll be tempted to join Team Gretchen. Somehow I doubt it, but since it’s Bravo, anything can happen.
Season 5, Episode 2: Friends, Enemies and Husbands (originally aired November 12, 2009)
For more on The Real Housewives of Orange County, click here.
Thursdays at 10/9c on Bravo
Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal, Mitchel Haaseth, Isabella Vosmikova, and Evans Vestal Ward