Millions and millions of dollars around the world have been spent on researching ways to effectively slow population growth. Yet with relatively little effort Bravo has put the kibosh on biological clocks this week by reintroducing Jeana’s oldest son and reminding us of the down side to parenting.
But first, grab your munchies and a stiff drink before taking the leap…
We start this week’s episode in Chicago. Crack ho Vicki is swishing up the front walk of a nice brick house with Jeana in tow. As she swishes she also gushes “I’m so excited for you to see my friend’s house”, * gulp*- quick correction- “my high school friend’s house”. Either it’s really, really important in Vicki’s mind for her adoring fans to know that she had friends in high school, or the women we are about to meet are people that Vicki is slightly acquainted with and the Bravo producers are desperately hoping to pass off as her high school friends. It’s got to be frustrating for everybody involved when Vicki forgets her non-scripted lines.
Inside the house, Vicki’s friends are doing what any sane person would do in preparation for this visit; they’re attempting to numb themselves in advance by downing booze as fast as possible. Because Vicki made sure that she pulled her middle-aged ass out of bed early enough to urinate on every street corner, bush and fire hydrant in the surrounding area, she’s feeling a certain pride of geographical ownership when she tells us how excited she is to be bringing Jeana to “My Hometown”. And she’s Oh So Excited for Jeana to see what her real friends are like. You see these are special friends, true friends, real friends, or at least highly paid co-dependant and enabling people who will put up with her highness’ cracked out behavior good, bad or indifferent.
I can’t help thinking that Vicki’s attitude is a lot like a young woman bringing her boyfriend from the big city back to meet the folks on the farm. Except that the boyfriend is Jeana and there isn’t a farm. But Vicki’s willing to improvise. The important thing is that Jeana gets to see that Vicki’s a real person with amazing friends, and then maybe Jeana will come to her senses and want to be besties again. After five minutes with her admiring “friends”, who she hasn’t seen for years, Vicki is all aglow with what she perceives to be their worshipful love.
Life with her new loving friends is looking pretty attractive to Vicki. Forget Jeana, these ladies would never contradict her or bring their own friends with them to Lake Havasu. And, suddenly, it dawns on Vicki that what she needs is a life change. She needs to go where people appreciate her and love her for who she really is.
At the thought of Vicki coming to live in Chicago, her short blond “friend’s” smile morphs from stiff to that special frozen look generally seen on the face almost potty trained toddlers. But Vicki has more important things on her mind than whether she’s just scared the crap out of her high school “friend”. She just wants to know if a pill popping, boozehound, crack ho like herself could fit in with the Chicago ladies. You see, in California people are so awful that Vicki doesn’t really have any friends. And really, after watching Vicki over the last couple of seasons, I’m sure everybody is as surprised as I am. But it’s true, and Vicki’s got some theories about her friendless state.
After a few desperate gulps of her drink, the short and blond “friend” diplomatically explains to Vicki that it might be a little tough for her to blend in with the girls, since they’re normal boring sane people without personality disorders and addictions. Vicki’s momentarily taken aback, but she makes a quick recovery when she remembers that these ladies love her and she loves them and they’ll always have each other. At least until she moves back to Chicago to find out that the women have packed their bags, sold their houses, and changed their phone numbers.
Vicki’s more optimistic about a future in Chicago than I am for her. And, really, who am I to judge? Crack ho’s got roots in Chicago, she’s got people there, and it’s “real”. On the other hand, Jeana’s not falling for any of this. She knows a paid friend when she sees one, and all this talk of Vicki’s “people” is making her think of the mafia. But Jeana knows an opportunity when she sees one. If Vicki were in Chicago, maybe the producers would find a sane housewife for Jeana to pal around with.
All this talk segues into a discussion of old age and nursing homes. Vicki says that she’s never going into a nursing home, which immediately prompts sighs of relief from nursing staffs everywhere, and leads directly to a discussion of mercy killing, with Jeana reassuring the RHOC audience that, if the series survives, we won’t have too long to wait.
Remember back at the beginning of the season when Tamra was taking her mother for a plastic surgery consult? This week we catch up with Tamra and mother right before she goes in for her facelift surgery. As they wait for her mother to be prepped, Tamra states that when she gets old she’s not going to have facelifts, because inflating and deflating her breasts takes up all of her plastic surgery budget, and besides she just wants to grow old gracefully. But neither Tamra nor her mother can keep a straight face at that one.
Tamra’s mom is pretty cute. She explains that when you get to be a certain age everything just starts to fall and she just wants it back up where it’s supposed to be. I appreciate the sentiment, I just have a different take on the situation. At this point in my life, I personally feel that I’ve earned the right to sag with comfort. On the other hand, I can’t help admiring the self-assurance that Tamra’s mom is showing when she’s being filmed in a hospital gown that’s falling off one shoulder and a really spiffy surgical cap.
Especially when the plastic surgeon comes in to mark up her face, wearing a gorgeous suit.
As the pre-surgery sedatives kick in, Tamra’s mom kind of sweetly tells her daughter that once she’s had her facelift, they’re going to be able to hit the bars together. We all know that there’s no way Tamra’s going to play wingman to her mom, especially not if she’s looking Tamra’s age. But don’t feel bad for mom, she can always go out with her creepy, grandson, Ryan, because we all know that Ryan’s such an expert at dating and mating.
Tamra starts to get a little weepy right before her mom goes under the knife, and for a moment I feel a small flicker of compassion for her. It’s not easy watching relatives go in for surgery. But then Tamra opens her mouth and the moment is gone.
As we’re treated to a scene from Nip Tuck, Tamra cheerfully informs us that her mother is going to an aftercare facility to recover from the surgery. I’m of two minds about this. Some of the aftercare facilities that have sprung up around the plastic surgery industry are really nice spa type resorts with complete medical care. Others are not so nice; more like an extended nursing home visit. I sure as hell hope that Tamra is sending mom to one of the nice ones. Especially with her strong beliefs about staying by her loved ones bedsides in times of need.
Speaking of moms, daughters and spas, surfer chick Lynne has arranged for a girl’s day out with her daughters, complete with a full luxury spa treatment. Life is looking good for the chicklets, except that drunken, bowling ball girl, Raquel, has made other plans for the day and can only stay to get her neck rubbed. It’s kind of too bad that this show isn’t live. With a live version the local police would be able to send out a patrol car whenever Raquel leaves her house.
For our middle-aged surfer girl, the spa isn’t so much about relaxing. It’s about the serious work of staying young. And goddammit, Lynne is going to do everything she can to look young forever. Up to now that’s meant botox for her forehead and filler for the lines in her cheeks, which must have looked like craters beforehand, but to me the question is how far is she willing to go?
Meanwhile, Raquel and younger sister, Alexis, are stuck in the same room, while they get their massages. Having no sense of time or place, Raquel is spending the entire session blabbing on her blackberry to her boyfriend. I’m totally feeling for Alexa when she complains about her sister’s constant yammering messing up her massage. Seriously, Raquel needs to get a job, a life and some respect for the people around her, or at least a really good PR representative.
Lynne takes a moment to describe the stressful conditions her daughters are living in. Having to drag their princess butts out of bed by 10:00 am so the maid can clean their room must be a bitch. Damn you Bravo, I’ve got streaks of butter spattered across my TV screen from that handful of popcorn.
Raquel abandons surfer mom and sister Alexa to run off to meet her boyfriend and probably indulge in a friendly bout of drinking and shoplifting. Lynne is a little depressed by Raquel’s defection, but she’s still got Alexa to cling on to. I wonder if Lynne would ever consider finding some adult friends to play with. You know, non-reality TV, sane women.
Lynne and Alexa are off to play tennis; not Alexis’ favorite sport. But mom’s all about encouraging her daughter in pursuit of excellence, or at least in running back and forth chasing stray tennis balls. And what better way to encourage a teenage girl than to compare her to a Viking princess.
Somewhat predictably, Alexa is a little appalled by the compliment, but a completely different image springs to her young mind. She’s not thinking Brunhilde, she’s thinking more along the lines of Dykes on Bikes. I’m thinking that Alexa has heard a little too much pro-prop 8 propaganda, because she sounds dismayed at thought. Seriously, a few gay pride parades in SF and she’ll figure out it out:
After last week’s financial convo with the Orange County matriarchs, Gretchen has decided to take Vicki and Jeana’s advice to heart. But instead of dragging Jeff into the hospital chapel for a rush wedding, or having him alter his life insurance policy in her favor, Gretchen has come up with a completely different kind of plan. Savvy business woman that she is, Gretchen has talked Jeff into investing his money with her name in a cutting edge, boxing/fitness club. Sadly, Jeff is too sick to visit the gym with Gretchen, but she assures us, and the owners, that Jeff is very, very interested in the gym. Besides, what could be more successful in today’s economy than a really, really, loud, combined nightclub/gym. After asking the owners of the gym a series of challenging and well-informed questions, such as the location of the bar, Gretchen is invited to take a private Pilates lesson. Watching her hump, grind and sexualize almost every aspect of the workout, while I stuff my face with popcorn and feel my ass grow, I’m struck by a sudden thought. What if Gretchen isn’t an exhibitionist attention whore? What if she just has a rare form of nymphomaniacal tourettes syndrome?
Back in Chicago, Vicki, Jeana and the Chicago besties are off to meet with Kimberly Bryant from season one for lunch. I love Kimberly Bryant. I was sad to see her leave the show, and I wish to God that she could come back. Apparently Vicki feels the same way. She’s thrilled to see Kimberly again because she just loooovvvveeess Kimberly soooo much. And it’s so great for Vicki to be with all of her people because what’s a queen without any people?
For a light non-controversial topic of conversation, Vicki, Jeana and Kimberly choose to discuss how they feel about their children engaging in pre-marital sex. Being a devout woman, who reads her bible every night, Vicki believes in abstinence outside of marriage. Kimberly and Jeana take a more secular view. Kimberly points out that sex is a great thing. So, why wouldn’t Vicki want her kids to experience a great thing? Jeana, ever the practical housewife, points out that premarital sex has the benefit of allowing the participants to find out if their partner is bad in bed. But, more importantly, Jeana doesn’t want her kiddies to get married because they want to have sex.
Vicki listens to Jeana and Kimberly’s comments before lobbing out the information that Jeana let her kids sleep with their partners under her roof when they were just sixteen. Jeana shoots a ‘bitch you are dead’ look at Vicki and gets right up into the crack ho’s face telling her, “If you’re talking shit about my kids I’ll have to bitch slap you.”
I’m so holding my breath and praying for Vicki to say something really nasty about Jeana’s kids. But no, all this talk about sex has gotten Vicki way too excited to stay on topic. The husbands of Vicki’s Chicago friends are hanging out at the bar, and she’s thinking that one of them is looking might fine.
Vicki is a devout religious woman and she isn’t going to stray from what her bible has taught her. So she takes a moment to double check that that pesky commandment about not coveting your neighbor’s wife doesn’t say anything about your neighbor’s husband. And that the commandment about not committing adultery doesn’t specifically mention anything about kissing and fondling. Reassuring herself that she’s good to go, Vicki sidles up to her friend’s husband and utters a favorite line of desperately lonely bar flies when they can no longer see straight and just want a male body to keep them warm.
Vicki’s friends have thoughtfully supplied a date for Jeana, but they’re not doing a whole lot of talking. There are two possible reasons for this. The date looks exactly like John Ellis, Jeana’s personal trainer, which is just too weird. And it’s kind of hard to get to know someone when a completely inappropriate social situation is playing out directly in front of you. Vicki is happily and actively groping away at her friend’s husband interspersing her fondling with friendly little kisses. Jeana does manage to offer a gentle “Don’t molest your people” to Vicki, but that train has already left the station. I’ve got to say that if Vicki was all over my husband like that we’d be stopping off for tetanus and rabies shots on the way home.
In the middle of all the smooching Vicki’s cell phone rings, and what do you know? Her husband, Donn, is on the phone. I’ve got to say that I would love to have seen Donn’s expression as he watched this episode. It’s a good thing that he’s married such a devout religious woman, or it might be easy to suspect that her behavior was disrespectful to their marriage vows.
Now that her mom has had her plastic surgery and changed the face of Tamra’s childhood forever, Tamra’s feeling a little blue. To fill the void caused by her mother’s time in the aftercare facility, Tamra’s brother brings his family and a whole box of Tamra’s childhood photos over to the Barney residence for a visit.
But, this isn’t just a segment featuring pictures of really bad teenage hair, there’s drama here, folks. The real heart wrenching drama of a young, helpless, twenty-five-year-old, divorced mother, whose very foundation in life was rocked when her parents divorced. Poor Tamra, twenty-five is such a tender impressionable age. A time when a person’s entire sense of security and identity is based on their parents, assuming that they never grew up and moved on to a life of their own. It would have been so much kinder to her if her parents had divorced when she was three like Ryan was when she divorced. Three is such a particularly resilient age, and Ryan is such a fine young man. On the other hand, Tamra’s trauma is deep and permanent. What’s more, Tamra’s abandonment issues have put a wedge in her relationship with Simon. Those abandonment issues must be pretty big if they’ve succeeded in putting a wedge between her and Simon, because her nasty back-stabbing ways, alcoholic tendencies, and over inflated boobs haven’t made a dent. For his part, Simon is sure that the only thing needed to make their relationship perfect would be for Tamra to fix her relationship with her father.
Vicki and Jeana have left the Chicago and are being driven to Kane county to watch Jeana’s oldest son, Shane’s, baseball game. Shane is currently playing ball for the Kane Cougars minor league team. In previous seasons, Shane’s blatantly racist and sexist shtick made him my least favorite reality TV kiddie. Ever. Unless he’s drastically changed his ways, you know we’re in for a whole new level of awfulness. And Shane does not disappoint. Having been benched for the game, Shane’s nasty diva self doesn’t want to be filmed sitting on his ass, so like any reasonable adult serial killer, he starts texting his mom abusive and threatening messages while she’s on route to his game. Just to get the full flavor of Shane’s delightful personality, I’m going to the quote: “I swear to God, you guys will regret it. Stay the fuck away from here.” I don’t care how angry batboy is. There could only be one possible outcome for any nutcase that had the chutzpah to send that message in my family.
It turns out that today isn’t just any day for the Kane Cougars; it’s fan appreciation day. Throngs of people are swarming around the field in hopes of meeting the players and Jeana and Vicki head down to join them. Shane is nothing if not consistent in his determination to be an asshole. You almost have to respect his intrepid disregard for the cameras when he tells his mother to “Get the fuck away from me.” You know, I bet that’s just the sort of charm and panache that the minor league teams are looking to foster. It’s so important to be a role model for the youth of today. I’m sure the parents of the young child near Shane were just thrilled by his example.
Crack ho Vicki is shocked, simply shocked, at Shane’s behavior, offering that if any of her kids spoke to her that way, she’d slap their face. I don’t know that I’d slap Shane’s face, but I do know that I would take his words at face value and march my tuchus the hell out of there, along with all of the financial support that Jeana throws his way. Let batboy live the high life on his measly earnings for a good long while.
At least the Kane Cougar mascot is happy to see Jeana. Or at least he was until Vicki points out that he smells. But, hey, I’d take the company of a smelly, insulted, mascot over Shane any day.
Way to insult the guy, Vicki. But as usual her highness is oblivious to her own actions. The mascot not so much. He’s not taking crap about his personal hygiene from anyone, especially a middle-age crack ho. The mascot is loving Jeana, but when Vicki goes to shake his hand, fuzzy face is having none of it.
As a special treat for batboy, Jeana has flown in her younger son, Colton, along with Shane’s girlfriend, Shana, to watch the game. I’m thinking that Shana better take a good long look at how Shane treats his mother, because there’s a really good chance that it’s pretty close to how he’s going to treat his wife.
Surprisingly, Shane gets swapped in for a sick player in the third inning and gets up to bat. With Vicki’s new trick of grinding up her diet pills and snorting them this is about as much excitement as she can handle and she’s woohooing for all she’s worth.
But it’s been a stressful day and everybody’s needing their own special kind of fix. So when the vendor comes buy with ice cream Jeana’s all over it. But, man-of-the-house wannabe, Colton, isn’t going to let mom indulge. He wants his mom to be a thin hot mom and goddammit Colton’s putting his post-pubescent foot down. Vicki tries to jump into the middle of the mother son ice cream debate, but Colton’s got a taste of power and he has no trouble being a dickwad back to Vicki. Vicki is once again shocked, simply shocked, at the rudeness of Jeana’s offspring. And I have to agree. Jeana’s offspring are shockingly rude. But before crack ho gets too self-righteous, she might want to remember a couple of episodes back when her son Michael delivered a lovely description of Jeana’s “fat ass” to the camera shortly before his girlfriend politely described Jeana as a “bitch”.
The next time at bat Shane gets a triple play and, as a result, is awarded player of the game. Wow, that probably would have been some great publicity for him with it being filmed on nationwide TV and all, if he hadn’t been such an asshole.
Jeana and her gang join Shane and his houseparent, Glenn, at the restaurant. Glenn’s a pretty big boy so I have some hopes that he’ll be able to smack Shane around if he tries any of his crap at in Glenn’s house. Kimberly and her son Travis have joined the group as well and Kimberly asks Shane how he likes playing in the minor leagues. Shane answers that it’s fun, or at least better than working a real job. Personally, I’m thinking that Shane better live it up while he can, because from what my hubby says Shane isn’t likely to last too much longer in the minors with a so-so average, an injury, and a diva personality.
Shane starts out whining like a teenage princess about the volume of his mother’s voice and his incipient headache, but it’s not long before he switches into future abusive husband mode. Without batting an eye, Shane coolly tells his mother that she’s lucky he didn’t throw a bat at her when she walked onto the field during fan appreciation time. And goddammit, it wouldn’t have been Shane’s fault if he had thrown the bat. After all, Jeana blatantly disobeyed Shane’s instructions, so she was almost forcing him to throw the bat. Any jury would have to understand the way it is with these women. Kimberly points out that Shane would miss Jeana if she were dead, but Shane counters that he’d have more money. I’m thinking he’s taking a hell of a lot for granted. Sooner or later momma Jeana’s going to realize that it’s time to get a restraining order, purchase a few large Dobermans, and change her will.
Jeana tells us that it hurts her feelings when Shane is disrespectful to her, and explains that his behavior comes from watching Matt treat her badly. I have no doubt that Shane’s behavior is at least partially learned, but in my mind that doesn’t excuse him. Shane is a grown up man and he knows that it’s wrong to threaten someone with a baseball bat.
For the all girl event of the week, Lynne is hosting a cocktail party with a mix of housewives, minus Vicki, and her beach friends. How many people are surprised at Vicki’s no show? Personally, I’m a little sad. I’m still holding out hope for a full on, claws out, silicone smacking beat down between Lynne and Vicki.
Tamra is still obsessed with trying to expose Gretchen’s dark side. She’s a little hampered by her position as a guest at someone else’s party, but Tamra’s not going to give up easily. If nothing else Tamra can enlist her husband’s help in trying to prove that Gretchen’s not the Harley girl she claims to be. Being an obedient husband, Simon inquires what models Jeff owns, because a real Harley girl would be able to rattle those suckers off.
Gretchen manages to name a couple of the models, laughs, and shrugs. The party goes on. My heart goes out to Tamra. It’s got to be tough being such a pathetically poor villain.
As a hostess, Lynne is neither plying her guests with alcohol, nor aiding and abetting young men with stalkerish tendencies to get lucky with drunk women. How refreshing. This must be a high class OC party. Lynne wanders over to where Simon, Tamra and Gretchen are standing. They all cheerfully and a little awkwardly nod and grin at each other before Lynne happily toddles off, leaving a slightly befuddled Simon to confide that she grabbed his ass on the way out. After all, hostesses always grab men’s asses at high class parties.
As the party continues it becomes apparent that Lynne is more of a diplomat than I’ve given her credit for. Without batting an eye she confirms that Tamra is the hottest housewife in Orange County. Tamra is thrilled like only an aging narcissist could possibly be thrilled.
But Lynne isn’t all sweetness and light. Anything to get through the evening and she interviews that they’ll just let Tamra keep on thinking that. Sometimes it’s just easier to let people hold on to their delusions.
Before the adults can really get their bad behavior going, competition appears in the form of Lynn’s oldest daughter, Raquel, and a group of her girlfriends. Raquel grabs herself a cocktail and heads out to the balcony to chugalug, leaving dear old dad to commiserate with Simon about raising girls. After getting a good look at Raquel, Simon’s looking mighty worried about his own daughter’s impending teenage years. Frankie says that he just wants his daughters to be normal, healthy and stay out of trouble. And, oh yeah, if they’re going to drink he’d rather that they drink in his presence.
Watching Raquel wander around with her alcohol is giving Jeana an anxiety attack. But if there’s one thing that Jeana can’t resist it’s an alcoholic with problems. So, she follows Raquel out on to the balcony and I have to say that all those years of dealing with Matt seems to have paid off. It seems like Jeana knows just how to talk to Raquel without pissing her off. It turns out that Raquel finished high school at a school for troubled teens. No surprise there. What I don’t understand is why the parents of a troubled teen would think that it’s a good idea to let the troubled teen loose in front of a TV show camera. Raquel goes on to share that now that she’s done with high school she’s poised to move on to bigger and better things. Not school and, nope, not a job. We’re talking bigger and better than that. Raquel’s going to stay in her parent’s house, spend their money and get drunk. Sounds like a plan, after the way this year’s started I’m ready to move in with some nice people and spend their money.
Well Gasmi, that’s it for this week. I don’t know about you folks, but every time I watch this show, I’m so grateful for my own life. I hope everybody is happy and healthy.
***To read Chapter 5 of Yenta’s novel, The Traveling Prayer, click here.