‘Real Housewives of OC’ Recap: River Deep, Housewives High

ALTWhooo, lordy, everyone. This is my third day in a row of Real Housewives and, I have to admit, I’m a bit tired. There are only so many sundresses, fake eyelashes, fraught accusations, and human frailties that I can take in one week, and it seems that I’m at my threshold. And the second half of the OC Housewives perambulations into the dark heart of the Costa Rican jungle was just, well, a little lackluster.

First we started off with the end of the fight with Alexis, where everyone piled on and called her phony and materialistic. What they really wanted to tell her is that she lies. They all think she’s a liar. They think she has no money and that she doesn’t own any of her cars and the shit she says about her life is totally fake, like all the bullshit about her husband’s million-dollar, one-of-a-kind watches and her fake rings and her boobs and her nose job. They all think that she is a big fat liar and that her stories (usually about money) don’t always add up. Just say it, guys. Just tell Alexis she’s a liar.

The problem is that Alexis is the world’s worst combination: stupid, stubborn, and argumentative. She’s going to defend her stupid lies until the end so that’s not going to help anyone. She gets fed up with being piled on and tries to leave. Heather says, “Let’s start fresh.” Okay, add this to the growing pile (like a large stinking compost heap) of Housewife misconceptions. They always want to do this after a fight, and it is not possible. You can not erase the past, you can only learn from it. But they never learn. They say they’re going to start fresh and the next time the furies raise them from their slumber, they’re dredging up all that old muck again. You can never start fresh.

The other Housewife misconception about this fight is that Gretchen goes after Alexis to talk to her about the fight. This is always stupid. Do not go and talk to them after the fight, even privately. That’s like rattling a bear’s cage and then, when it’s barely calmed down, poking it with a stick. You need to give a person time to collect themselves and cry and rage and get out all of their emotions on their own before you show up with your extensions and false eyelashes and ulterior motives and muck the whole thing up.

Gretchen gets rebuffed and she’s all upset because she wants to be Alexis’ friend but has to tell her the truth that she’s an awful liar who talks about her diamond encrusted iPhone cover and her fleet of completely unafforadable automobiles and that no one can stand to listen to her, not even her personal lord and savior Jesus Christ. The other girls tell Gretchen that, by telling Alexis the truth she’s helping her to become a real person, not just a set of fun bags full of wind and Bible verses. This is true, but she’s never going to change.

Vicki goes in after Gretchen and only pisses Gretchen off more because Vicki actually talks to Alexis. Oh, this is such a silly thing to cry about. You should all be sitting down and leaving her alone and talking about her behind her back while she cries in her room. That is what real friends do. That is how life works, Housewives.

Strangely enough, Vicki, who has been acting like she took a huge hit of salvia as soon as she arrived in Costa Rico, is the voice of reason: “We’re all phony and materialistic on some level.” Wow, that is the most self-aware thing a Real Housewife has ever said on television ever. “No one is going to change. Just accept us for who we are.” Wow, Vicki, did you smoke your way into some sort of lucidity? Is this like Roger Sterling finding the truth after his LSD trip? When did you get so smart and reasonable?

But Vicki wouldn’t continue to be reasonable. So the ladies go to a beach where Alexis is lingering around like a fart in a jar and just sort of stinking up the whole mess, but then she leaves. Then Tamra rips everyone’s clothes off and they fondle bananas and play with monkeys and it’s like some sort of sick Skinemax movie or something. The Bikini Car Wash Monkeys Around. Emannuelle’s Latin Adventure. Banana Babes in Jiggle Jungle.

Then, while they were on the beach, it was time for an intervention with Heather. “Sweetie,” Gretchen said. “There’s soemthing we really need to talk about.” Vicki said, “This is really something that has been bothering us for a long time and we really want to help you. Please, don’t be upset.” Tamra chimed in, “Your relationship to alcohol has gotten out of hand, and this behavior really needs to stop.” Oh, they don’t think that Heather is an alcoholic, but everything thinks that she needs to stop calling champagne “champs.” God, that is so freaking annoying. The only thing more annoying than that is a line of shape wear called “Yummie Tummie.” Just call it champagne. Who do you think you are, Patsy Stone without a die job? Seriously, Heather.

There is a little scene that doesn’t seem to fit into the chronology of the episode, but there’s a little interlude where Tamra tells Gretchen she has to confess something. “Vicki slept with Slade too.” See, that’s funny, because Slade has screwed more Housewives than Bravo’s confidentiality agreement. They two of them cackle and laugh like a bunch of hyenas over a caribou. “That’s not funny. That’s not funny. That’s not funny,” Vicki says repeatedly while shaking her head. It is then that I realized: Vicki Gunvalson is a human creature that is completely devoid of a sense of humor. As if when God was shaping the plastic and microchips that make up this blond robot (she’s a small wonder) he left out the one that makes her laugh. I don’t think, in all eleventy season of Real Prostitutions of Whore County have I once seen Vicki laugh. She smiles and whoo-hoos, but she does not laugh. Vicki does not fundamentally get the joke, and that is really her biggest problem in life. If she could just laugh.

But no, Vicki is like the animation in a depression commercial. She’s just a bundle of sticks and lines that is forever on the verge of having one stray thought that will lead her into a crippling bout of sadness. When they’re planting trees in the wild, Vicki is thinking positive thoughts about how this will bind the group together in nature. “We’ll be intertwined in heaven,” she thinks. Maybe it was the awfulness of that thought (I don’t think being stuck for eternity with Housewives is what people would call heaven, but probably the other side) but then Vicki says, “What’s going to be sad is when one of us dies.” What, Vicki? Are you having a bad trip? But that is, in fact, a very sad thought. Not only will it mean that all of us are getting old or that tragedy has struck, but also we’ll have to start writing obituaries of reality television personages. Can you imagine when your Twitter feed and Facebook page and whatever new device or function or website we’re using at the time, starts clogging up with the death notices of people who we used to watch fight for our entertainment? It’s going to be so hard to remember these modern day gladiators fondly, but we’ll have to. “Today, Vicki Gunvalson, a revolutionary figure in the Real Housewives franchise that dominated cable reality television in the early 2010s, died today of [CAUSE TK]. She was [AGE TK].” Someone is going to write that sentence. That will really happen. Wow, we’re all now very keenly aware of our own mortality. Thanks so much, Vicki G.

There is some white water rafting and someone says, “Are we all in the same boat?” Oh, the irony is not lost on us. They deluge down the river on a course of bumps and rocks and rapids. They all scream and shout as the water washes over them, baptizing them in their togetherness, fighting off Vicki’s demon of negative thought about their deaths.

When the boat lands, all the ladies go for cervasas at the local canteen and Vicki, that pliable lump of feelings, starts bawling about Don for no apparent reason. She thinks about how sad he is and how sad she is that it’s over. She tells them that if he wanted her back, she would go to him. This isn’t what she intended this life where she was a big loser with a capital L on her forehead with two failed marriages and a career that consists mostly of showing her many instances of falling down with the greater public. This isn’t what she wanted. This wasn’t even something she could aspire to as a young lady. She thought she would get married and have some babies and sell some insurance and be happy. Now, here she is, soaked to the bone and sad with a bunch of stretched tight women she doesn’t even know. This is the tragedy of Vicki’s life. And in that moment, all she really wanted was to just go home.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan


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