You know that there are those words or phrases in life that you just can't stand to listen to people say for whatever reason? Mine are things like "gift certificate," "cool beans," and "Yummie Tummie." There is a new one we need to add to the litany: "Wine by Wives." God, I hate it. It just sounds like some sort of spirit made by women in pastel dresses with high bangs and long braids crushing grapes in moldy bins somewhere in the Utah desert. It sounds like something having to do with the Duggars. I think the other problem is that we just heard it over and over and over last night from Tamra. God, if those three words were peroxide, she'd never have to touch up her roots ever again.
Everyone piled into some limos for a wine-tasting trip up on Malibu, a region that is as well known for their wines (and their wives!) as Mississippi is for its racial tolerance. Yes, Malibu wines are famous. They're like Rita Ora: you've heard of them, probably, but you have no idea what they are and then when you find out, you wish you didn't know in the first place. Then, when they get to the "vineyard" there is just two card tables with plywood covering them set up in a dusty parking lot. "Where are the grapes?" Vicki asks? "Oh, they're not in season right now," the owner of the Grifter Vineyard says to the collection of people standing on the other side of some boards he picked up that morning from next to a Dumpster on a construction site. "Yeah, we just harvested all the grapes and, um, it makes the ground really fertile if you just remove the entire plant and start over again next year. That's how we get our best wine."
Later, after sitting around at brunch and drinking stuff that is not wine, they went to a shack on the side of the road with some benches out in front. It looked like the General Store in Urinetown or maybe an abandoned Cracker Barrel that this fake vineyard rented out so the Housewives would have some place to guzzle booze and pretend like it was for work.
And it was work, at least for Tamra and Vicki, who were supposedly shopping for their Wines by Wives (ugh) which is sort of like QVC for the Franzia enthusiast. I don't even know what Wines By Wives is. It's stupid. It's some dumb wine club so that these two can try to build their own Skinny Girl empire from nothing at all. Tamra says that Vicki isn't doing enough work on WBW because she's too busy building Vicki's Vodka, a bathtub swill that eats through the paper of a Dixie Cup if you try to make Jell-O shots out of it. Yes, Vicki is working on that and not WBW, which has its own office in a ratty office park now. Tamra has a desk there. It is a real place. And these Real Housewives do not monkey around with the adjective "real." Oh no. Vicki left early to go to some dinner party with "Pookie an' 'em" and Tamra was like, "You don't do anything," and Vicki was like "Yeah huh!" and Tamra was like "Nuh uh," and Vicki was like "Whatever," and Tamra was like "Bitch," and Vicki was like "Excuse me?" and I was like "ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz." This is a stupid fight.
What has Gretchen done this season? Well, nothing. What did Gretchen do this episode? Well, nothing. Oh, I take that back. She did do something. She dressed wildly inappropriately for every occasion. First she showed up at wine tasting weekend wearing a black and white stripped top and these big billowy pants. It was basically the same exact thing that every backup dancer in every R&B video from the '90s wore. I'm shocked that BuzzFeed has yet to write a post of The 74 Black and White Striped Spandex Tops from '90s Music Videos. Yes, Gretchen looked like she was about to Shoop, shoop e doop, shoop e doop, shoop a doop a doop a doop all over that "vineyard."
Then, the next day, at the farm stand that was doubling as a wine emporium and fleece jacket seller (because nothing goes with wine like a shitty fleece jacket) Gretchen shows up in this long, magenta evening gown. She rolls up to the bar and everyone else is sitting around on rickety stools dressed in their finest sweats and muu-muus like they're going to a tailgate party for a minor league baseball team. Then there's Gretchen, dressed like Malibu Barbie. Well, they are in Malibu, but it's not like they're at some fancy beach mansion. She looks like a Malibu Barbie that got left out in the mud. Oh Gretchen, get a story why don't you.
Speaking of needing to get a story, so do Heather and Terry. I'm sorry if they're having real trouble in their marriage, but their whole fight over something stupid seems, well, stupid. It seems like they're both acting and they made up this whole dispute so that there's a reason to put them on camera. I will say though, if Terry is acting, he's doing a really good job, because he was annoying the living beJim Bellino out of me when they were having a fight in their bathroom/clothing mausoleum. (PS – Why on earth does Heather Dubrow have large glass containers of purple M&Ms and sticks of rock candy in her bathroom? Isn't that the worst place to have candy, next to the place where you shit and where Terry annoying clips his toenails while half listening to you?)
Terry was just being a jerk then and not paying attention to her while she was trying to seriously discuss an issue and then he nitpicked her little speech about all she does for the kids and says, "Did you say tutor twice?" which seemed like a line that they scripted beforehand, but if it was real, I would have given him a pistol whipping with my scrotum (because I am a man, unlike Heather) and then packed all his spread collar shirts in a bag, taken a huge dump in them, lit the bag on fire, and then thrown it out of the second story window onto his car below. I mean, seriously, Terry.
Later at boozy wine brunch Terry brings up that they have been fighting and says that he "said some things" that he regrets and tries to leave it at that. Oh, silly Terry, tact is for kids! These are Real Housewives, they are going to ask for every damn dirty detail and then tell you what they think about that. It is in their contract. That is what they do. Finally he tells them that he said "the d word." At first I thought he meant "dong," because, where I come from, that is the only d word. Apparently he meant "divorce," but whatever. That's dumb. See! Another d word.
Actually Vicki did have some nice things to say about fighting with Donn and both of his Ns and how they would say the "divorce" word how each time the did it was like a brick and that built a wall between them that ruined their marriage. It was actually very sweet, real, honest advice from Vicki. For one minute I could excuse everything she does and just think about a brick wall being built in front of her, piece by piece until she couldn't breath anymore. I thought of the "Cask of Amontillado" and, well, that brought me great joy.
Lydia didn't really do anything this episode either except wear ridiculous things on her head. I don't know how she keeps all these giant hats on with her tiny little chicken carcass neck, but she does. Oh, does she ever. The only other thing that Lydia did was seem pretty awesome. She showed up at the Malibu Wine Fiesta with a get well card her son made for Slade's son after he heard about his illness and surgery. Sure, this might have been prompted by mommy, but was a really sweet gesture. Later, when Vicki was whining by wives about how she was the only single gal on the couple's trip, Lydia and her husband, Hunky Doug the 13th Apostle, offered to let Vicki stay with them. Aw, it was really sweet. Right now I'm inclined to think that Lydia is a smart, giving Christian woman and she really means these things. I will continue to think that, but I have a feeling I am going to be proven wrong soon.
That just leaves us with Alexis. She did not go on the trip because Tamra would rather chew piece of gum she pulled off the toe of a shoe that she's been wearing in the dirt than spend two minutes with Alexis. Ms. Bellino, who is nasty, instead had to open the SkyZone Trampoline Amusement Park and Christian Science Reading Room, with her husband, our lord and savior Jim Bellino. Oh, he was so excited for his new business. "This is going to be one of the top SkyZones," he said in the car. Yes, that is the great thing about Jim Bellino's business. It's just a franchise. It's a kids' birthday party trampoline park franchise. He didn't even think up the idea or design it or anything. He just got the money together. That's sort of like opening a KFC and telling everyone you're Col. Sanders.
But Alexis stood there at the front of the SkyZone. She was like Mrs. Sanders, with her giant cardboard scissors putting on her smiling face and pretending to be happy for her husband. She thought about those women all those miles away surely getting in a fight, thinking about how mean and awful she is and, well, she kind of missed it. While it was torture, it was also independence. It was her thing. It was everything she brought to the table. She stood there for a moment and thought that she could run out into the parking lot and hop into a limo and be up in Malibu to get in a squabble by sundown. But she didn't. Jim came over and asked if she was OK and smoothed his hand down her back. "Yeah, I'm fine," she said, her blank look turning into a fake smile. "I'm just so happy to be here."