A strange thing has happened, a very strange thing indeed. We got ourselves this new addition to the cast of Real Housewives of Orange County and, well, it turns out she's kind of like a real, sane human being. Even crazier, she seems like a real, sane Christian which, after years and years of being abused by the Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jim Bellino, seems incredibly unlikely. But now it's happening, Our Lady Lydia, patron saint of bird squawking and party crashing, is an actual real sane human being.
Of course we began this episode with a rehash of Tamra throwing Alexis out of her Empty Gym Jamboree. Man, that was quite a moment. And we get a bit of the aftermath with Alexis going out to sit in the limo and wait for Vicki and Lydia to be ready to leave. The crazy thing that happened was, when Lydia followed Alexis – her friend who she was supposedly there to support – she told Alexis she was dead wrong. Yup, that's our Lydia McLaughlin, just a chicken carcass full of surprises.
Yes, Lydia tells Alexis that all the other women were just trying to share their opinion and that they weren't bullying her. Just because they all have a different opinion than Alexis doesn't mean they're ganging up on her and calling her names and inflicting physical pain. Lydia told Alexis that she shouldn't say she's being "bullied" because people kill themselves over being tortured at school by kids bigger, stronger, and more popular than they are. This caused Alexis to snap back, "I had to go on Xanax because of this, Lydia." Yes, in Alexis Bellino's little brain, committing suicide and taking Xanax are the same thing. Yup, they are equal tragedies, and the fact that she even needs little pills to relax is just as bad as a teenager who has been called a "faggot" every day of his life hanging himself in his bedroom. One and the same really.
God, Alexis is just the living worst. The thing is, we all know she's not being bullied. Here is the biggest difference between Alexis' situation and that of every other child in the world who has been bullied: Alexis can leave. At any given moment, Alexis can over-pack her bags (the only way a Housewife knows the travel) and never see the people who are "bullying" her again in her life. It's that easy. She can just be rid of them and everything they have to say about her with the snap of her fingers. For the kids who do commit suicide because of this problem, they can't stop going to school. Well, many of them do and then their grades slip and their parents get upset and the truant officer comes looking for them and they're forced back to class and then they have to be bullied and they're failing and life just gets worse and worse until it seems like there is no escape. They are left completely hopeless. That is why they kill themselves, because they can't leave.
This is not Alexis' situation. Alexis just needs to make one call to Andy Cohen and she can have her life back. She may be getting ganged up on (and, seriously, she is) but she is not being "bullied" because she can just walk away. She can rip up her contract, go back to civilian life, and never have to deal with the dragon fire breath of Tamra Barney and Heather Dubrow and Gretchen Rossi ever again. But she does not because she has a dress line and a trampoline park and a brand of kosher hair extensions to promote. OH, and a paycheck to collect, so as long as that's happening, she's just going to have to suffer through it. Maybe she should just request hazard pay and then shut up about the bullying.
Lydia totally gets this and Tamra Barney (we'll get to her in a minute) eavesdropped this whole conversation about Lydia thinking Alexis hasn't been bullied, and reports it back to the other ladies, so Lydia is already making some allies and she doesn't even know it. Later when Lydia goes to visit Alexis, who is wearing a blinged-out brain bandage from thinking with her pretty widdle head too much. It looks like one of Blossom's hats with the top cut out and she has on bright red lipstick like she's dressed up for one of those Ye Olde Thyme pictures that you take on the boardwalk. Anyway, Lydia says, "I can tell why no one likes her, she can't handle one bit of criticism." Yes, I love this Lydia, I really do. Then she says perhaps the smartest thing a Real Housewife has ever uttered. She tells Alexis to stop worrying about who is right and who is wrong and who said what and who invited whom to what party and when. "If you get caught up in in keeping score you'll end up a loser." Bingo, Lydia! Bingo. She has this whole freaking gig figured out already and this is, what, like her third episode? Let's just hope that, going forward, as the chits on her tally list start to add up that she doesn't become a score keeper herself. And even better, she says, "Jesus asks us to forgive everyone," so if Alexis is really half the Christian Lydia is, she'll be better at forgiving. (PS--I talked to Jesus and he loves Lydia more.)
I totally get what Lydia is saying too. There is no more substance to anyone's arguments. They're not arguing about anything. They're just arguing. They're just saying, "You're stupid." "No, you're the one whose stupid." "I can't be stupid." On and on like a bunch of nursery school who are a little woozy from eating too much mint-scented paste. Alexis' big gripe is that all these people gang up on her and that she doesn't know why they don't like her. "I wish I knew!" she exasperates to Lydia. Um, Alexis. They sat you down in Costa Rica, which was supposedly some awful traumatic event for you, and they told you exactly why they don't like you. They think that you are materialistic and argumentative and that you make things up and that you say things to try to impress people and those things aren't true or impressive. That's why they don't like you. How could we make this more clear for you? Make you an illustarted sticker book with activities? Maybe a connect the dots and a word find where you have to circle the name of every label you've ever uttered on this show? Why don't you, maybe, work on yourself and fix the things that annoy them and maybe they will stop being mean to you? Hmm, Alexis? Hmm?
Now, I don't want people to start thinking that just because I hate Alexis it means that I'm Team Tamra or something. No, that is not the case. Well, maybe it is. I enjoy watching Tamra on television because she is clever and attractive and says funny things. However, I would never ever in my whole life what to sit next to Tamra and eat steamed vegetables and grilled fish (which, along with sadness, is the only things that Real Housewives are allowed to survive on) at a dinner party. Tamra is a gila monster with a manicure, don't get me wrong. She is fun TV, but awful at life.
Vicki was right when she pointed out that everyone who has ever crossed paths with Tamra has somehow angered her and she has lashed out with them. She changes partners more than Ron Jeremy at a swinger's convention. There's no loyalty or rationale to who is her bestie at any given moment, it's just whoever Tamra has managed to not piss off (or convince to forgive her) at any given moment. Tamra really has some serious Anger Management issues. By that, I mean that she has the entire first season of Charlie Sheen's sitcom Anger Management recorded on her DVR and its' taking up valuable space. No, seriously, this bitch needs to get it together. Someone needs to teach her to simmer down.
I hate to say that Vicki Gunvalson is right about Tamra, but she is a bit. But let's not forget what started the fight between Vicki and Tamra: Brooks. Yes, he is the cause of all of this. He is currently the cause of all of Vicki's problems. Everyone hates him and thinks that he is trying to take advantage of her and she refuses to listen to anyone. So, yes, Tamra does fight with everyone, but at least this fight between her and Vicki seems to be worth it.
Now we have to talk about Vicki and Brooks because, well, that seems to be all that anyone wants to talk about. Her whole family comes to town (including her dreamy ginger nephew Kyle, who also happens to be a deaf mute) and all they want to do is tell Vicki how she never should have gotten rid of Donn with both of his N's and that Brooks is bad news. Yes, we all know. Everyone knows! Bashing Brooks is about as fun as, I don't know, eating stale jelly beans three months after Easter. It's still pretty good, but it leaves you a total mess, it's out of season, and you just feel kind of sickly afterwards.
As much as I hate Brooks and love Brianna, Vicki's son-in-law Ryan is sort of creeping me out. He has all these cameras set up around the house to enforce his "No Brooks Near My Baby" policy which, well, that just seems crazy. Why, exactly, the cameras? She he can look and make sure Vicki doesn't sneak Brooks in or have him over when they're not around? Does he trust her so little? If that's true, then the problem is between her and Ryan and not with Brooks, and no amount of cameras in the world will fix that. And I don't doubt that Brooks is an awful person that Ryan doesn't want to make jokes about hookers with, I don't doubt that at all, but, man. Craziness.
Later Vicki and her raspy-throated brother Billy go to visit her son Michael. Vicki's son will not give his mother his address and instead meets her at a bar. First of all, Michael looks really good. Second of all, he is apparently brilliant. He is sick of the torture and indignity of having Vicki as his mother and intruding on his life all the time and forcing him to put on a clean polo and have a beer with her on camera to prove they're cool. Michael plays along, but he's obviously not having it. He's also not having the Brooks hatred, especially. He says that the guy is always cool with him, but based on how much time he spends with his mother (which is, none) he has probably spent just as much time with Brooks. Consider the source. Also, this is all sad for Vicki.
Billy tells Vicki the truth when she bitches about Ryan and Brianna not wanting Brooks around: she needs to choose. She either needs to tell the two of them that it's her house and she makes the rules, whether or not they pay rent, or she needs to give up Brooks. I mean, that's the long and short of it. This man has caused her nothing but problems and everyone is telling her to choose between him and them, so she has to choose. Having them both is increasingly not an option and as soon as Vicki realizes that, I think she'll be better off. I just don't think she's going to want to deal with the consequences in either direction but just dragging it out is only making it worse for everyone. Life is all about choices. She already chose a reality career over knowing her son, so this should be easy.
But let's go back to the Empty Gym Jamboree just for a second. After Alexis left all the women enjoyed the rest of their dinner, including strange green shakes that tasted of devil weed. Tamra poured some gin in hers and called it a Rosemary's Baby. They drank and talked about laughed and hollered. The clock struck midnight and a big gong sounded through the empty gym.
"It is time," Tamra said, rising to her feet. All the women rushed over to the side and stood in a circle. Gretchen took the salt shaker off the table and twisted the top off and threw it back onto the table, she slowly poured the salt out in a continuous mound as she walked all around the gathered women. Then she stood inside the circle next to them. Then Heather took a piece of chalk from her clutch and crouched down in her heels. She started drawing on the ground, first a big circle inside Gretchen's salt ring, in front of the women's feet. Then she drew a line from one woman to the next until it completed a pentagram, each of the five guests standing at the point of the star.
"Join hands," Tamra said, and she reached out of her bellowed sleeve and they all clasped lightly as the wind picked up outside and there was a rumble in the distance that sounded like a thundercloud or an 18-wheeler being driven off the highway. Tamra started chanting, no, not even. It was just a sound, a gutteral sound that filled up her mouth with a vibration that echoed through all of them. They all made a sound in the same tone and slowly they started to rock back and forth and the wind rushed in through the giant open garage door in swirling eddies, driving all of their garments up into the air and their hair flying into their faces.
Tamra stepped inside the circle and the women on either side of her closed the gap and grabbed hands. She walked to the center of the star and put down three candles. "I welcome you maiden," she said and the first one burst into flame. "I welcome you mother," she said and the second one burst into flame. "I welcome you crone," she said as the final one burst into flame and then stepped inside their triangle. The woman's tone had gotten louder now and they started to mouth strange foreign words that only they seemed to know the meanings to. The wind was howling through the room and moving the furniture, making the glasses on the table start to call out with little twinkles, and it seemed like a tornado would start and whisk them all away to Oz.
Tamra raised her hands up in the air, chanting the name of her dark lord that was unseen. The candles started to glow brighter, the flames reaching almost all the way up to Tamra's hands and the outer ring of the pentagram glowed like there was a rave happening in hell and we were peeking at all the glow sticks. Tamra raised her head up and shouted her incantation to the heavens. Then she lowered her head and stared directly out into the dark night. "Alexis," she said. And as soon as that utterance was complete, the wind suddenly stopped and everything was eerily still. The woman let go of each other's hands. Tamra spun around three times in a circle and the candles extinguished themselves. She picked up a glass from the table nearby and put its' rim in the salt circle that had remained, during the entire ritual, unmolested.
She stood up and held the glass out, addressing the group, "Margarita, anyone?"
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