This week the producers at Bravo have officially thrown down the gauntlet to snarky recappers everywhere. Not only do Ryan, Tamra, and Gretchen all cry, but their storylines include such light hearted topics as cancer and miscarriages interspersed with skanky music videos and skankier tattoos. So do you think fatal diseases and personal trauma are enough to give this show a free pass? Hell no!! My darling Bravo, you promised us a show that offers an inside glimpse of the privileged lives led by the wealthy housewives of Orange County. You know, the “Real” housewives. Instead, you’ve delivered a show that’s more about the shady lives of the “real” estate agents of Orange County and their assorted and tawdry families and connections. You’ve sold your soul Bravo and it’s my job to laugh it.
I’d be failing in my duty as a recapper if I didn’t advise you to mix yourself a really, really strong drink before plunging into this weeks episode. So, first chugalug and then jump…
We start this week’s episode with an evening cocktail hour for crack ho mommy, Vicki, and her hard working and surprisingly well-adjusted daughter Briana. Vicki is looking strung out as usual. Briana is looking exhausted from finishing a twelve hour shift at a hospital. Briana’s job is stressful, but growing up with Vicki had unforeseen benefits. You see her childhood made her particularly immune to stress.
Who would have thunk it?
After twelve hours of helping sick people, trying to hold a conversation with a batshit crazy woman can’t be easy. Vicki thanks her daughter for taking the time to drink with her and mourns the days when they used to have their regular cocktail hour. Briana shares that she loves her job and adds that she couldn’t do what her mother does, because Vicki spends her days sitting on her fat ass at her desk. Vicki looks mildly offended, but Briana doesn’t seem to care. She’s tired, she’s had a long day, but she gets to go home to her own apartment sans mommy, so life is fucking grand.
“I love working at a hospital. I check vital signs, I change diapers, I wipe butts.” Life is so much better now that I don’t live with my mom.
Mommy Vicki must have snuck a hit off her pipe when the cameras weren’t looking, because she’s started speaking in run on cracktalk. Showing Briana her shoes, she says in a single breath, “Seemynewshoesthey’rehardtowalkinyoucanborrowthemifyouwant.” After years of experience, Briana has no trouble deciphering this sentence and politely declines the offer, pointing out that she doesn’t wear heels because she’s nothing like her wack-a-doodle mother. Briana’s a casual, comfort-first, kind of girl and the very thought of dressing up just stresses her out. For that matter, anything remotely resembling her mother’s lifestyle stresses her.
Enough of this polite chatter. Vicki’s high as a kite by now, but still coherent enough to be understood, so let the sick, twisted, manipulative games begin. Yay, for nightmare mommies!! Vicki starts off by telling her daughter that it scares her when Briana drives in an exhausted condition. Such a nice, reasonable, sounding statement, until Vicki turns the wheel sharply to the left and drives that bus straight off the cliff of sanity into a sea of “I own your ass” guilt. After all, threatening to slit your throat, or alternatively your wrists, if anything happens to your family is such a healthy way to express your love.
So if I die it’s all your fault. Remember, I’d slit my throat for you.
Don’t worry, Briana, your mom’s only threatening suicide so that you’ll once again tell her how much you love her. And, sure enough, Vicki innocently follows up with, “But don’t you think that way about me? If something happened to me, wouldn’t you just die?” Tell me you can’t live without me! Tell me! Please, tell me!
Personally, after working a twelve hour shift, I’d be telling Vicki whatever she wanted to hear just to shut her up. So, I have to give Briana points for trying to introduce a little sanity into the conversation by pointing out that, regardless of how she feels about her mother, she wouldn’t slit her throat if something happened to Vicki.
I’d be free! I’d be free!!
Besides, Briana loves her mom almost as much as she loves her dog, Lucy. No, Vicki, wait! Don’t jump off that bridge! It was a joke. Well, sort of a joke.
In honor of the holiday season, our producers have decided to bring back some really special people. Who better to engage our interest and warm sympathy than Slade Smiley and Jo De La Rosa? After all, their story should be inspiring to people in real estate everywhere. Who’d have thought that a title representative (Jo) and a mere mortgage broker (Slade) would meet, fall in “love”, star in a reality show, break up, lose everything, and get a spin-off reality show of their own.
Slade Smiley is such a resilient fellow. Despite the death of his daughter, the foreclosure of his property, his new dead end career as Jo’s manager, and his rapidly fading boyish charm, he’s still chipper and chirpy when he hugs his old buddy Gretchen from his real estate days of yore.
Seriously, you’ve got to wonder how many people thought it was a good idea to buy high interest, no money down, adjustable rate mortgages from Mr. Smiley.
Gretchen is oh so happy to see her dear friends again. It’s heart warming to hear her talk about the difficult struggle she had with her conscience when she made the decision to leave her dying fiancÃ© in the hospital and take her reality show entourage of cameras and production assistants down to the set of Jo’s music video. Not that she has any desire to be in a music video. Nope, Gretchen is just there to be of help to her friend. Because there was no way that Jo could possibly have made the video without Gretchen standing around like a stage prop in the background.
Before I can make any judgements about a woman who chooses to party with abandon on camera, takes the time to appear in a music video, not to mention continuing to show up for her reality show commitments, despite the fact that her fiancÃ© is dying in a hospital, we’re gently reminded that Jeff’s kids are visiting with him. As proof that this new “housewife” is really not the exhibitionist, attention whore that she might otherwise appear to be, the editors take us to “Gretchen’s House” where Jeff’s kids are starting the day with the sole goal of taking care of their father. There is nothing funny about the interviews with these kids. I can only say that my heart goes out to them, and the producers at Bravo should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting their tragedy.
While Jeff’s kids are getting ready for their day with their father, Gretchen and Jo are reuniting by hugging and jumping up and down. It kind of makes me wonder if there are any trendy sex video’s in their future. You know, when their fifteen minutes of fame has been stretched so thin that it finally snaps and they’re left homeless on a Hollywood street corner, with nothing but debts and an overwhelming desire for top shelf scotch.
We’re going to be so much more famous than Kim Kardashian!
Gretchen interviews that seeing Jo was fantastic. And then she does this weird thing where her gaze shifts away from the camera to some spot that she can only see by looking sideways, and you just know she’s lying her ass off.
No, really, Jo looks hot.
Back at “Gretchen’s house”, you know, the one owned by Jeff, we are treated to some clips of Jeff’s kids who tell us how great Gretchen has been. It’s a nice little interlude and it makes for an interesting contrast with some of the statements that Jeff’s family members have begun to post in TRHOC blogosphere.
But back to where the all important music video is being filmed. Jo has stripped down to a slutty little red mini dress, and is strutting back and forth with two other women, while Gretchen awkwardly stands around holding a wine glass in the background. I really hope that things kick up a notch after those first few seconds. The little bit that’s shown looks like a really bad prelude to some really uninspired hotel porn.
“Making a music video is a hard thing, but I wanted to be there for my friend, so that made it fun.”
It appears that Tamra has managed to recover from her Lake Havasu induced alcohol poisoning. Which is a relief, but I bet she has one of those awful sobering up cases of the icks. I mean who wants to remember themselves groping their husband’s balls for the camera, much less squatting in a bikini and screeching like a banshee. To spare her the embarrassment of going out in public, her son Ryan has kindly come by her house for a visit. Recalling snippets of her public, squatting, meltdown Tamra asks about the “nugget” tattoo. Personally, I’m curious to know how drunk Ryan had to be to willingly assume a position that allowed for his lower lip to be stretched out so a person wielding a tattoo gun could access its inner portion. I kind of figure that, if you’re that drunk, the meaning behind the tattoo is irrelevant. Sadly, no. The story behind the nugget tattoo is the stuff of terrifying soul-searing nightmares that mother’s should never be subjected to. Ryan starts out with the inevitable words “I never told you”. Words that should immediately signal a stop to all conversation, because if it wasn’t a good idea to share the experience at the time of the occurrence then it probably isn’t a good idea to share it now. However, this is reality TV and the train has left the station. Ryan happily divulges that he and one of his ex-girlfriends almost had baby. An occasion which inspired him to rush out and get the word “nugget” tattooed inside his lower lip. However, the pregnancy came to naught when his then girlfriend miscarried around 3 months.
Ryan interviews that it’s probably better that they lost the baby since he and the girl are no longer together. Then he reaches off camera grabs his beer and takes a few swigs. Clearly, a stellar example of what a girl should look for in a possible baby daddy.
It’s like having my own beer commercial.
Wrestling with the peculiar cause and effect of a pregnancy leading to a tattoo inside a bodily orifice, Tamra comes to a horrifying conclusion. OMG, were they going to name her grandchild “Nugget”? Ryan assures his mother that he had no intention of naming his child Nugget. After all, who does she think he is? He’s an upstanding, responsible, type of dude. This was more along the lines of a possible nickname, arrived at after looking at pictures of a fetus’ weekly development. Apparently, Ryan’s astute ex-girlfriend noticed a startling resemblance between the tiny fetus and a nugget. Instantly, comprehension dawns for Tamra. Of course, a chicken nugget!! Everything now makes perfect sense. The fetus of her grandchild resembled a type of fast food, prompting her son to inscribe the name in the orifice that would normally receive it. Yummy!!
Tamra starts trying to explain how much she desperately wants Ryan to be careful from now on, because having a child too young, or when you’re single, is really hard. She knows this first hand. Tamra chokes up with emotion and starts crying. Telling her son with a touching but slightly pathological optimism that she knows he will make an amazing father one day. And now, Ryan is crying as well. This should be a really emotional moment, but I’m completely distracted by her right eye not closing when she starts to squeeze out some tears.
The perils of too much botox.
The newest RHOC BFFs, Lynne and Gretchen, are meeting to have a chummy lunch together. Which means that Lynne is going to push her salad around the plate and drink a lot of wine. Gretchen is all for the wine, she’s just not really sure what kind she wants.
I really feel like a glass of…what was that kind of wine…you know, chardonnay, but not in a box.
Lynne tells Gretchen that she and Frankie have been married 18 years. Before Gretchen can finish counting all of her fingers and toes to figure out Lynne’s age, Lynne craftily adds that she got married when she was 12. Giving up on trying to count her toes, because there are just too many of them to keep track of, Gretchen asks straight out how old Lynne was when she met him her husband. Lynne’s not about to be tricked by Gretchen’s clever tactics, and accuses her of trying to find out her age. Gasp!! Silly, silly, Gretchen. Just like you’re never supposed to ask a fellow inmate what their crime was, you should never ask a woman in Orange County what their age is. Lynne pushes another piece of calorie laden lettuce into the no-no zone of her plate and admits to being a wee bit paranoid about her age. Then calmly threatens to kill Gretchen if she doesn’t shut the fuck up and stop asking about it.
I like you so I’d make it quick, but a girls got to do what a girls got to do.
Threats of murder remind Lynne of death and dying. Switching the subject away from her age, she asks if Gretchen has to go see Jeff. Gretchen nods and confirms that she’s going to go see him later, before sharing that the doctors delivered bad news. Sadly, Jeff will need to undergo traditional chemotherapy and it’s a really dangerous treatment for someone in his weakened state. Lynne tells Gretchen that Jeff’s going to make it and she’s just got to keep the faith. Lynne knows this because her husband Frank had thyroid cancer and overcame it. Gretchen is of course touched and inspired by Lynne’s story and their bond as BFFs is further cemented, threats of murder not-withstanding.
After two Gretchen segments, a Tamra/Ryan segment, and a Vicki Segment, I’m delighted to switch to a segment featuring Jeana’s daughter, Cara. Cara may sound like an obnoxious spoiled brat, but she’s more likely to shoot somebody than to indulge in tears. So, at this point I’m happy to see her. Cara is out shopping sans the moola. As I know only too well, shopping without money is either depressing, or for those of us with credit cards, potentially dangerous. Jeana explains that for the past two years she hasn’t given Cara any money, so if Cara wants to shop she’s going to have to get a job. Poor Cara, my heart goes out to her, or would if she wasn’t so in your face cocky. Although, I do appreciate her taking a moment to grope the store mannequin’s ta-tas.
God, I love to shop.
For Cara’s part, she admits that she doesn’t get to shop as much as she used to, which she doesn’t necessarily consider a bad thing. Instead she considers it more along the lines of a humbling experience. I’m thinking that humble isn’t really a concept that Cara is grasping. No Cara, humbling is when you have to pawn all of your jewelry and you still don’t have enough money to pay all of your electric bill and your electricity still gets turned off.
Anyhoo, in her newly humbled mindframe, Cara decides to get a job as a salesgirl at a boutique named Glitter Girl so that she can take advantage of the employee discount. And for all of the people that think she’s a spoiled brat, she tells us that she really wants to give us the middle finger, but she’s trying to work on her ladylike skills.
Ladylike, schmadylike. Hey, Cara, munch on this biscuit sandwich.
After this endearing little interlude, Cara continues prattling on. In order to fully appreciate her words, I’m going to quote the little darling: “I know I’m more highly qualified for a more intense job, but we have the rest of our lives to do boring extremely successful and hard jobs.”
I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that these jobs don’t involve speaking coherently.
We’re back to Tamra and OMFG the wilted lettuce shirt is back. Here she is taking time to have a ‘look how far I’ve come’ lunch with friends from her home town and she looks like she just came out of food fight at the local salad bar. So, it’s not a huge surprise when her friends from days gone by aren’t too impressed by her life of luxury in Orange County. Her $40,000 watch even fails to elicit a reaction beyond the trenchant and awesome question, “Friend do you know how many kids in Africa that could feed?”
Do you want a bite of my shirt?
Tamra blames the way she turned out on not being close to her mom, and being her daddy’s little princess. But she’s confusing the hell out of me. Does she think the way she turned out is a good thing or bad thing, because she seems to want to assign some blame somewhere. Her dad, she tells us, made her what she is today. Yup, good old dad made her into a reality show housewife, with the average American’s annual income on her wrist, and droopy veggies on her over-inflated chest. But wait, there’s more. Tamra’s parent’s divorce caused traumatic upheaval in her young tender psyche. And the fact that she was 25 at the time, had been out of the house for years, and had already been divorced herself in no way mitigated that trauma. In fact, Tamra’s unsure whether a divorce is harder on a one year old or a 25 year old. Personally, I’m guessing that in Tamra’s situation her parent’s divorce was hardest on her son, Ryan. After all, he had already suffered through Tamra’s divorce, when he was forced to suffer through her trauma over her own parents divorcing.
No wonder I’m such a douchebag.
While Tamra is reliving her adult trauma, Vicki and Briana are spending a little quality time donating blood together, and of course Vicki is totally phobic around blood. Briana tells us that paper cuts make her pass out. And from the smile on Briana’s face I’m pretty sure that this is Briana’s sneaky little way of torturing her mother. I mean, what’s the point of having a crazy mommy, if you can’t get some amusement out of setting them off in public?
Sadly, due to her acne medication, Vicki is rejected as a blood donor. But Vicki doesn’t fully disappoint. Narcissism reigns as she takes credit for the blood that Briana donated, because, after all, she was the one who gave Briana the blood to begin with.
In the spirit of the holiday season, it’s kind of like Briana is re-gifting.
After leaving Cara in the humbled state of having to work for the first time ever, we now return to check on the progress of her spiritual journey. Sadly, it quickly becomes evident that humbleness is a transitory state of being. Not content with the lowly role of a salesgirl, Cara has talked the owner of the boutique, Sabrina, into taking her advice on remodeling the store. Seriously, more small businesses should follow Sabrina’s brilliant strategy of taking advice from a teenage girl with absolutely no marketing or retail experience. These are the kinds of brilliant choices that are bound to keep more small businesses afloat in our current economy.
Mannequin boobs and paint fumes. I love retail.
After several episodes of building suspense around Raquel’s impending birthday, we’re finally ready to PARTY!! Woohoo!! That is, we’ll be partying if these beyotches can get their acts together. Getting dressed is hard for a normal teenager, but try getting dressed when your misguided momma wants you to look like a hooker. Raquel is a sharp girl and it only takes one glance at her picture perfect younger sister to make her realize that her own outfit looks like something Julia Roberts would have worn in the opening scenes of Pretty Woman. And Raquel ain’t no Julia Roberts. Raquel’s survival instinct kicks in and she does what any hormonally unstable teenage birthday girl would do. She throws a hissy fit until her younger sister agrees to switch outfits. Thank God Raquel had a plan, because her mother’s course of action in this crisis pretty much consists of screaming through the bedroom window.
Really upscale neighborhoods often have “ladies” yelling through the windows.
Lynne and her daughters finally make it to the cafÃ©, where Raquel’s birthday lunch is supposed to be taking place. A location that is coincidentally across the street from where younger sister, Alexis’, boyfriend lives. How convenient for a quick romantic rendezvous. Sadly, the course of true love rarely runs straight and Alexis joins the birthday party looking like a kicked puppy. It seems that boyfriend Randy is a better judge of fashion than momma Lynne. Randy knows stripperwear when he sees it, and he doesn’t like his girlfriend wearing it. Lynne is shocked, simply shocked, that anyone would think that her daughter looked like a stripper when she was wearing THAT dress. It’s a classy dress, Goddammit. And, more importantly, it’s Lynne’s dress. LOL.
I’m sure it looks even classier when her mom is wearing it.
In the middle of this fashion crisis, yet another crisis is brewing. Husband Frank calls to say that he’s going to be 20 minutes late with the birthday car and now momma Lynne and daughter Raquel are stressing. I’m thinking that Frankie’s running late because he was having a little trouble getting one of those super easy no credit car loans that are now a thing of the past. And when he shows up with a used 2005 series 3 BMW worth $22,500, I’m sure of it. Hey Bravo, way to downgrade with the times!! But Raquel’s happy, Frank’s happy and Lynne’s happy, so I guess the real message to TRHOC is that true happiness doesn’t depend on owning top of the line items. Vicki is going to be one pissed off coke ho when she finds out that she’s been following the wrong storyline for three and a half seasons.
The last thing Andy Cohen is going to see before Vicky goes homicidal on his ass.
For this week’s girls get together, our shiksas are meeting at Javier’s for dinner. Jeana, Vicki, Tamra, and Gretchen arrive en masse and the waiters immediately draw straws to see which sucker is going to have to wait on them. We have a little banter around Vicki’s upcoming insurance conference in West Palm Beach, where she intends to sit on the beach imbibing alcohol and pretending to be a single woman. Jeana thinks she must have some hidden work buddies with benefits, but I’m thinking more along the lines of cabana boys looking for big tips. Either way Vicki finally shows some reality TV savy and, instead of making damning confessions to the camera, she denies, denies, denies.
I love my husband. I’d never, ever, even look at a cabana boy.
And, now, the moment that Bravo has been promising us; Lynne arrives to meet and greet the other housewives. The intros reveal that while Lynne currently resides in Pebble Beach she’s really a Laguna Beach person and Tamra’s all like ‘Me too! Me too!’ Which segues smoothly into whether the school system is any good and why not just send the kiddies to private school anyway. Vicki is pretty much leading the convo with Tamra begging to be educated. Pack dynamics are so much fun to watch. Tamra has almost the exact same expression of worshipful intent that my little dog gets right before he’s about to hump someone’s leg. Lynne is watching this exchange with barely concealed impatience. The problem with drinking when you don’t actually eat is that you get drunk really, really, easily. And, when people are drunk they tend to express what they’re feeling.
Jeana tells us that Lynne was lucky that she didn’t get bitch slapped by Vicky. I’m so wishing that she had been bitch slapped by Vicki. That would have been the best catfight ever. Lynne’s in better shape, but Vicki’s probably at least mildly coked up and you know that’s going to give her an edge. Sadly, no, Vicki just looks indignant, while Lynne continues to drunkenly blather on threatening to leave if kids are what’s gonna be talked about.
Gretchen and Lynne exit the table to go to the bathroom together, because girls can’t pee by themselves. And the hazing begins. But it’s a pretty mild hazing. There’s some talk of Vicky tossing Lynne out on her ass, which get’s me a little excited, but it comes to nothing. The newby BFFs return with the startling news that they weren’t really indulging in a joint tinkle. Instead they were hiding around the corner and listening to all the mean things that the veteran shiksas were saying. Hold on. This is all too frigging entertaining for me to stand without a little more wine.
Seriously, would you pass Vicki her pipe and get that crack ho moving.
Lynne makes an attempt to bring the convo around to more interesting subjects like the blueberry salmon diet. And, Gretchen takes a moment to share her sex diet. Of course, the other housewives want to know how she’s maintaining her petite figure when her sex partner is in the hospital. Giving a coy laugh, Gretchen assures them that you can make anything happen if you want to make it happen, and that there are plenty of people in the hospital who are willing to have sex with her.
I’ve dropped a whole 10 lbs since I switched my visiting hours to after dinner.
But back to practical matters, Vicki asks Gretchen when she’ll get to bring Jeff home and Gretchen’s face manages to assume an expression almost resembling discontent. Sadly, Jeff won’t be coming home for at least a couple of months. The housewives look sympathetic and ask if Gretchen goes to see her dying fiancÃ© everyday. Gretchen nods and answers, “Everyday that I can be there.”
When I’m not at Bass Lake, or filming a music video, or filming lunches like this for TRHOC I’m by his side every minute of every day.
Buoyed by the wine and the heady knowledge that she’s the boss girl’s BFF, Tamra gets all up in Gretchen’s face and tells her that she wouldn’t be spending time at Bass Lake if Simon was in the ICU. Well, actually, Tamra says this more as an aside to Jeana, but Gretchen overhears it and Gretchen is seriously pissed off. Pissed off like she might just pick up that butter knife and cut Tamra. Tamra’s no fool. She pretty much rolls over and pees herself when Gretchen gives her the evil eye.
Oh, hell, Vicki better start laying down the law, because the way Gretchen’s sounding there’s going to be a new head bitch in town. Gretchen flat out tells the other girls that they don’t get to have an opinion about her care of Jeff unless they’ve experienced it, or they’re her new BFF, Lynne. Lynne chimes in and diplomatically suggests that the ladies refrain from talking about kids or cancer. Vicki’s getting really irritated, but all she does is ask why Lynne gets to control the conversation. Seriously, what a day for Vicki to be even slightly sane.
Wow, those little blue pills that Jeana gave me sure do make me feel mellow.
Faced with these new beyotches, Vicki and Tamra decide that it’s time to take their own group tinkle, and run to the bathroom to discuss strategy and pop some more pills. Meanwhile, Gretchen takes advantage of their absence to make her case to Jeana. Because, now that Vicki’s dumped her ass, Jeana’s like a swing vote. Squeezing out a few tears, Gretchen wails that she’s given up her whole life to be with that man, and it’s so unfair for someone to judge her. Okay, I know that I’m an evil person, who’s no doubt damned to having my after life reviewed by nasty recappers, but when Gretchen says her “whole life” is she talking about some other life than the one where she’s spending mega hours out of her day to film a reality show?
Anyhoo, Vicki and Tamra return and Vicki proclaims that Tamra didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings. Gretchen’s hurt crying jag is over and she’s back to giving Tamra the evil eye. But the glare is just a warning because Gretchen’s decided that she’s had enough. Gathering her belongings, she says her goodbyes and promises to meet the girls at 7 am the next morning for another day of filming. Then leaving Lynne behind, she marches off, probably with plans to sneak into the parking lot and slash Tamra’s tires.
I hope everybody out there in the Gasm is off to a stupendous 2009.
****For Chapter One of Yenta’s newest novel, “The Traveling Prayer”, click here. And come back every week for new chapters!