Every so often we get something that is remarkably rare. It comes along once in a blue moon, like Haley’s comet or Shark Week or the Barney’s Warehouse Sale. However, unlike all of those things, it is never delightful. No, it is greeted with farts and groans and sadness and babies dying of cholera. Yes, it is a very deadly thing. It is a boring episode of Real Housewives of Orange County, just like the one that aired on May 29. It is the hour without controversy, without ridiculousness, without fights or confrontation, without the Brechtian loneliness and crass consumerism that fuel this purring engine like the biodiesel in Willie Nelson’s tour bus.
Well, the episode did give us anything more ridiculous or outrageous than we’re used to. Yes, we see Gretchen ask Slade to read her a guide of what she should pack when going to Costa Rico (a rogue state of Mexico, according to Alexis Bellino) and then when he reads the guide to her, she gets all upset that he’s reading the guide. I mean, seriously, Swiss Miss? But, yes, what else do you expect from a housewife? We have seen this all before, the packing parties and the excess luggage and the crippling sadness that comes from living an empty life on camera. We’ve seen it all. And last night it was just not amusing. I’m sorry. I was bored. Heavy bored, as Berryman would say.
Anyway, I guess we have to go through it, this episode. This collection of petty gripes, silly fights, and the stupid alphabet game with Vicki in the back of a doomed bus. I’m skipping all the packing because the only thing more boring than watching people go to the DMV (sorry, Heather, you know I love you) is watching people pack for a trip you’re not going on. So, all the women fly to Florida to pick up Vicki so they can fly to Costa Rico. This makes no sense at all. Why do they have to pick up Vicki to fly there? It’s not like she’s the ambassador to Costa Rico or something. It’s not like they’re driving and she’s on the way. Can’t she just meet them there? Screw you, Vicki. That is dumb.
Alright, so they all get to Costa Rico and Alexis is wearing her giant fake diamond ring, because she is about as stupid as a ball of ABC gum. Not only is she wearing it, she has to make a big scene about how her ring is fake so that the ladies not only know that she has a real giant ring at home, but also the means (and stupidity) to have a fake ring made. She says it’s to protect her so that she doesn’t get robbed when she’s in the rogue state of Costa Rico which is known for its gorilla warfare, which happens when the giant mammals beat on their chests, attack you in the night, and steal your cubic zirconia. As Heather points out, some robber isn’t going to know the difference between a giant diamond and a giant fake diamond. They’re just going to see a stupid lady with a giant rock on her hand and they will cut your hand off just to get your ring (not the citizens of Costa Rico, who are wonderful people, but, you know, awful robbers in general). Then, Alexis, you might still have your real diamond ring at home, but you don’t have a hand anymore. You are now an amputee and you can compete in the paralympics except you have no discernible athletic abilities. Alexis, the moral of this story is either wear your real ring or don’t wear any ring, but being ostentatious will always get you in trouble. Just look at what happened to Liberace!
Yes, everyone is piling up on Alexis already, because she’s only staying for two days instead of five (because she is stupid and she doesn’t realize that this is not a vacation that it is work and that her job is to try to Outplay, Outlast, and Outsmart the other screech monkeys) and because she is stupid and phony and no one really likes her. Watch out, Alexis. Oh, nevermind. I hope she gets what’s coming to her.
The next morning they all get on a bus to go ziplining through the rain forest. Here is what Vicki said on the bus ride, “Anus. Balls. Vagina. Vagina. Whoo-Hoo! Anus. Anus. Vagina. Vagina. TAMRA! Whoo-Hoo! Whoo-Hoo! Anus. Balls. Anus. Anus. Anus. Anus. Anus. Anus. Anus. Vagina. Anus. Whoo-Hoo! TAMRA! Balls. Vagina. Penis. EW!” That is what Vicki said. And all good will I ever had for Vicki curdled up like a scrotum in a cold wading pool.
Okay, so they go ziplining and Tamra and Vicki get in some stupid fight because Vicki doesn’t want Tamra saying “Penis” when Vicki said “Penis” in the car and they get into this huge fight high about the jungle and they’re tethered onto a pole which they’re going to swing from like Tarzan and Jose, their guide, has this look of utter disgust on his face. He can’t follow their disagreement or make out their various shrieks and calls. To him, they sound like the monkeys in the jungle who can only communicate through piercing screeches that start off singular and then raise in a pack, increasing in volume an intensity until birds take off and trees fall and the whole jungle trembles in terror. Jose wishes he could just unlatch a few of them and push them down into the canopy and claim it was an accident. If only there weren’t all these cameras around.
Then everyone goes home and goes to dinner. (Oh, I forgot to mention that at breakfast Alexis was dressed like Rachel Weisz in The Mummy with some crazy archeologist hat and little scarf and whatnot. It was kind of awesomely ridiculous. But then when they got to the zip lines she was wearing some hat that said “PRAISE JESUS” in bedazzles. God, I can’t stand her.)
Alright, so they’re at dinner and at another dinner before they left, Tamra told Heather that she told Alexis that Terry said she’s phony. I wish that sentence was a joke from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that ended with Alexis passed out at 31 Flavors, but it is not. It is a real recap of what actually happened. Alright, I’m about to get into it again, so let’s see if you can follow the bouncing ball. So, Heather told Tamra that she would back Terry for what Terry said about Alexis if Alexis asked Heather about what Tamra told Alexis that Terry had said about Alexis. Then Tamra said she and Heather should confront Alexis about how Alexis felt about what Tamra told Alexis what Terry said about Alexis which Tamra learned from Gretchen who is the person Terry said the thing about Alexis to. Got it? Good.
They decide that while they’re on vacation in Costa Rico that they’re going to bring up what Tamra told Alexis that Terry said about her (okay, I’ll stop now). Yes, that is a great idea. Pick the time when the five of you explosive ladies are stuck together and there is nowhere to go and no one else to talk to. Yes, choose that time, when you’re all trying to enjoy each other’s company to throw a spite grenade right there into the mix.
Finally it comes up at dinner of its own volition and Alexis wants to address it. Heather does the right thing and very calmly and rationally defends her husband. Even Tamra is being very calm and rational and says that she can come off as fake. Then Gretchen gets into it and tells Alexis, again calmly, that sometimes she can do things that are really materialistic like talk about all her jewelry and all her cars and all her money.
It’s all going well, and it must suck to be Alexis. But what she should have done was say, “Guys, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you felt this way. I’ll try to cut it out. It’s just that sometimes when I’m around all of you, I feel so self-conscious and insecure and I don’t know what to do. But I’ll cut it out. I feel so awful.” And then you cry and everyone hugs you, that’s what you should have done, Alexis. But Alexis is dumber than a dumpster full of spaghetti. She decides she is going to fight back and take on their allegations. Alexis needs to realize that she is not mentally equipped to argue, especially when her ammunition is lies or unbelievable truths or the bullshit that her husband Jim, the Guinness Book of World Records holder for worseness, tells her. She says that the reason they have so many cars is because Jim buys them cheap and then sells them to make money. What? On which planet does this happen? Who is your husband? TJ CarMaxx? No. He’s some fat turd with a trampoline park. God, Alexis, dig your own grave.
That’s all it takes for Tamra to get insensed and start attacking Alexis. Yes, it must be frustrating, like dealing with a five year old who can’t stop wetting the bed, but you have to have patience. Alexis says, “Maybe you can be less mean and hateful.” You know what? Good point. One point for Alexis. That is your only point.
But Tamra continues on with her bellow and Alexis dabs at her eyes and gets up from the table, walking away quickly at first and her pace slowly becomes a trot, her kitten heels tapping against the pavers of the pool. She just runs off, not knowing where she’s going. Wishing that she could find a place to pray or call her husband or get a moment’s piece. To find someone to give her just a moment’s solace and tell her that these women are all stupid, that they have done nothing to help her. That is what Jim usually does for her, shelters her and tells her that she’s safer at home and every time she goes out something bad happens. That her place is serving him and when she doesn’t, God lashes out. That’s what Alexis needs right now, someone to put her in her place.
And she walks further and further from the resort, down a small path through the brush that leads down to the main road. It’s the shortcut that the workers take when walking in from the town. There’s just enough light for her to see a small monkey sitting in the path, hunched over and wringing its hands like Lady MacBeth or Madge from the Palmolive commercial. He makes a little squeak and Alexis stands still, not knowing how to treat this. God won’t hurt her, she thinks. She is righteous and she is lonely and God won’t cast her down now. All she can see is the monkey staring at her and the little twinkles her ring is giving off, reflecting the moon into a million little particles. The monkey lopes toward her and she continues to stand still, thinking about running, thinking about fleeing, but thinking above everything that she has to be okay.
Then it lunges, the monkey lunges at her arm and grapples there, making repeated bursts of noise as she screams and flails, trying to shake the monkey off like its touch is giving her a disease, like it’s some pest that she can squish with her soft hands. After the struggle, she sees it land on its feet and run away. But something is missing. Her ring. The monkey has the ring. Another betrayal, another violation. Why can’t anything go right for Alexis. She stops and thinks for a long minute before taking off after the monkey who prefers the trail to the trees. It scampers with its tail held high and she runs up close to it, and it jumps half way up one of the trunks lining the path, waiting for her to catch up.
She gets there and he is poised on the small tree, his hairy flesh calling attention to the smooth texture of the bark. One arm and both legs are wrapped around and his other hand is extended, holding the ring out at her with the jewel, the fake, dangling from the bottom. It’s like a tiny glitzy door knocker right there in the jungle. Alexis doesn’t know what to do. She stands there for a moment breathing heavily, staring at the monkey as it looks into her eyes. Then it cocks its head looking adorable and makes a little bleep and shakes the ring in her direction. “Me?” she asks it. She slowly puts her hand out, her manicure painted perfectly and pointed right towards it, her little fleshly cup. The monkey makes the noise again and shakes the ring at her. She raises her hand up higher, right below the ring, waiting for the monkey to drop it. She just wants to go back. Back to her room, back to her bed, back to California, back to her husband and his plights and gripes as bad as Achilles. She raises her palm a little more so she can feel the jewel, so it’s pushing up in the monkey’s hand, pivoting in his fist. Then he make that noise again and withdraws, bounding from tree to tree into the jungle. “Wait!” she screams after it, her arm outstreched but her feet unable to move. “Wait,” she whispers as she can’t see the monkey anymore, just a blur of shaking trees as he retreats, just the turbulence in the humid night.
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